Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt has been named this year’s Golden Boy, ahead of second-placed Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The prestigious accolade awarded to Europe’s best player under the age of 21 by Italian publication Tuttosport has been won in the past by several of the world’s finest players, including Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Paul Pogba.
Last year Mbappe earned the award for his exploits at AS Monaco before he secured a move to Paris Saint-Germain and he has since gone on to enhance his reputation further with a domestic treble in France and a World Cup win for his country.
He had been installed as the favourite to win the Golden Boy again this time around, but he wasn’t even included among the finalists. Instead, this year’s surprise winner was De Ligt, who at just 19-years-old has quickly become one of the most sought-after centre-backs in European football – as per Sky Sports.
According to Goal, the Dutchman is being closely monitored by both Manchester City and Barcelona, who could swoop for his signature next year, after his impressive displays for Ajax in the Eredivisie and in the Champions League.
Alexander-Arnold meanwhile will surely be pleased with his silver medal position in this year’s voting process, having enjoyed a stellar breakout season with the Reds during the 2018-19 campaign.
The 20-year-old was a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI as Liverpool powered their way through to the Champions League final back in May, while also helping the team to secure a top-four Premier League finish.
AS Roma’s Justin Kluivert, Real Madrid youngster Vinicius Junior and AC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone made up the rest of the top five, which was decided by an international voting panel.
De Ligt is the first Netherlands international to win the Golden Boy since Raphael Rafael van der Vaart back in 2015, and by beating Mbappe to this year’s coveted trophy a running theme is maintained – with no player managing to win the award more than once.