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2019 GOLDEN BOY

Golden Boy: João Félix beats Jadon Sancho to 2019 award

João Félix has been voted the winner of the 2019 Golden Boy award by a panel of 40 journalists ahead of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

Joao Felix beats Jadon Sancho to Golden Boy award

Atlético Madrid star João Félix has been voted the world's best under-21 player after winning the 2019 Golden Boy award, beating Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Joined Atlético for 126m euros in summer after breaking through at Benfica

Portugal international João Félix broke into the Benfica first-team last season and swiftly became a fixture in the side, impressing with his athleticism, ability on the ball and strong finishing skills, earning comparisons with Brazil and Milan great Kaká.

He finished the 2018-19 season with 15 Primeira Liga goals from just 21 starts and featured for Portugal in their Nations League triumph.

João Félix's form understandably led to transfer speculation and, although several of Europe's biggest clubs were said to be interested, Atlético got a 126-million-euro deal over the line in July as they identified him as their ideal replacement for Antoine Griezmann.

First Atlético player to win award since Agüero

Although the attacker is yet to light up LaLiga having scored two goals and set up one more in 10 appearances, a panel of 40 journalists voted João Félix as the winner of the Tuttosport award, making him the first Atlético player since Sergio Agüero in 2007 to take the gong home.

João Félix highlighted the impact of Benfica coach Bruno Lage in his acceptance speech. He told the Italian publication: "Thanks to Tuttosport for the Golden Boy Award 2019, I am very proud.

"It is the second time that a player from Atlético Madrid has won this award and I am happy. Thanks also to Benfica, in particular to coach Bruno Lage, for all he has done for me and my family."

João Félix received 332 voting points to take the crown, with England talent Sancho finishing runner-up with 175 marks despite arguably having a more consistent year. Kai Havertz was third with 75.

The 20-year-old award winner - who returned to action on Saturday after a month out injured - follows Matthijs de Ligt, Kylian Mbappé and compatriot Renato Sanches in being named the Golden Boy, an accolade a player can only win once.