Jude Bellingham was recognized with the Golden Boy award Friday after establishing himself as a key figure for Real Madrid and England.
The individual accolade, which was created by Italian outlet Tuttosport in 2003, is given to the best footballer under the age of 21. Previous winners include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and last year’s recipient Gavi.
Bellingham, 20, also collected the Kopa Trophy – another award given to the best under-21 player in world football – at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in October.
After narrowly missing out on a Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund last season, Bellingham moved to Real Madrid in June for over €100 million. He’s needed no time to acclimate to Spanish football, as he’s notched 10 goals and two assists over 11 La Liga appearances. He’s also scored three times and assisted once in three Champions League outings for Los Blancos.
Bellingham’s importance to his country has grown rapidly since he impressed during England’s run to the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals. He made his international debut in November 2020 but was on manager Gareth Southgate’s radar long before that. Bellingham’s potential was well-known while he progressed through Birmingham City’s youth academy. He made his senior debut for Birmingham soon after his 16th birthday and the club retired his No. 22 jersey when he transferred to Dortmund in 2020.
Jude’s brother, 18-year-old Jobe, is currently drawing praise through his performances for Sunderland in England’s second tier. He also made his senior debut for Birmingham at 16.