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GOLDEN BOY 2019

Golden Boy award: Real Madrid trio among seven LaLiga finalists

Three Real Madrid-owned players are on the 20-man shortlist for the prize, although Atlético's Joao Félix is thought to be the favourite.

Golden Boy award: Real Madrid trio among seven LaLiga finalists

Seven LaLiga players have been named among the final 20 contenders for this year's Golden Boy award, with Real Madrid the Spanish league's most represented club.

Voted for by journalists across Europe, the Golden Boy is given to the calendar year's outstanding European-based footballer under the age of 21, with the 2019 winner to be announced in Turin on 16 December.

Vinicius, Rodyrgo, Lunin among 20 finalists

Three Madrid-owned players - Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Andriy Lunin, who is on loan at Real Valladolid - are among the nominees. Vinicius, who shone for Madrid after breaking into the side midway through last season, appears to be Los Blancos' best-placed candidate. Recent arrival Rodrygo is expected to have a big future at Madrid, but is still to establish himself in the first team at the Bernabéu.

Meanwhile, Lunin is yet to be given his debut at Valladolid - and, having only made seven appearances on loan at Leganés last term, the Ukrainian goalkeeper seems unlikely to be the next Golden Boy.

Joao Félix tipped for prize, Ansu Fati also a nominee

The favourite for the award, which was created by Italian newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, appears to be Atlético Madrid's Joao Félix. Having enjoyed a superb end to the 2018/19 season at Benfica, the 19-year-old has impressed in Spain since his summer move to Atlético, quickly establishing himself as the team's star figure. So far, he has scored three goals and supplied one assist for Los Rojiblancos.

Also among the contenders is 16-year-old Ansu Fati, who has been a revelation at Barcelona this term, playing with a degree of maturity that belies his young age. The pacey, penetrative forward has already earned himself a call-up to Spain's Under-21s - and may not have to wait long for a senior debut.

Valencia also have representatives on the 20-man list, in the shape of Ferrán Torres and Kang-in Lee. Having each been given Champions League minutes by Los Che, the pair are both gaining a greater and greater first-team presence at Mestalla, and have been earmarked as future leaders of the LaLiga team.

Among the other stand-out names on the Golden Boy shortlist are 2018 winner Matthijs de Ligt, Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Erling Braut Haaland, who has attracted the interest of Real Madrid after making a stunning start to the season at RB Salzburg.

Full list of Golden Boy's final 20 nominees:

Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal), Erling Haaland (RB Salzburg), Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Joao Félix (Atlético Madrid), Dejan Joveljic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kang-in Lee (Valencia), Andriy Lunin (Real Valladolid, on loan from Madrid), Donyell Malen (PSV), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Ferrán Torres (Valencia), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) and Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma).