Hit or Miss Golden Boy award winners after Sanches secures 2016 gong
Lee Gormley | 3 November 2016
Hit or Miss Golden Boy award winners
Bayern Munich summer signing Renato Sanches recently became the 14th recipient of the annual Golden Boy award after the youngster helped Portugal win their maiden international trophy by claiming Euro 2016 in France.
The Golden Boy award, handed to the best young player in Europe, has been won by many promising talents that went on to become some of the world’s elite stars, though many have also failed to deliver on their potential too.
Portugal’s midfield ace from the summer will look to build upon his early personal and international success with Bayern in his first season in Germany, and Carlo Ancelotti’s men are 7/2 second-favourites with Coral for Champions League supremacy.
In light of Sanches’ win, having beaten Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford to the honour, Coral look back at past victors with hit or miss Golden Boy award winners.
Rafael van der Vaart, 2003 (HIT)
Now in the closing stages of his long-standing career, the 2003 and inaugural winner of the Golden Boy award Van der Vaart has enjoyed much success throughout his 16 years in the sport.
The 33-year-old Dutchman earned over 100 caps for his country being part of the 2010 World Cup runners-up side, and won two Eredivisie titles with Ajax before two-year stints at both Real Madrid and Tottenham.
Wayne Rooney, 2004 (HIT)
Despite his recent form having dwindled at both club and international level, 2004 Golden Boy Rooney has achieved almost everything there is to claim in his time with Manchester United and England.
An abundance of Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League medal see him vastly decorated at Old Trafford, while the Red Devils skipper is just short of becoming the club’s all-time goalscorer. This is a feat he has already amounted to for the Three Lions, netting 53 times in 118 appearances.
Lionel Messi, 2005 (HIT)
Over a decade after being awarded the Golden Boy honours, Barcelona superstar Messi has become arguably the greatest player ever to grace the pitch.
With just shy of 30 major titles with the Catalan giants, including an incredible four European Cup medals, the Argentine ace is also a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, while only a major international trophy so far eludes him.
Cesc Fabregas, 2006 (HIT)
The future of Chelsea midfielder Fabregas may currently be under speculation, but the Spaniard has definitely lived up his early potential from younger years as an Arsenal prospect and 2006 Golden Boy winner.
Now 29 years of age, Fabregas has tasted silverware success everywhere he has been, including at the Gunners, Barcelona, Chelsea and, of course, being part of the previously dominant Spain side under now-retired Vicente del Bosque.
Sergio Aguero, 2007 (HIT)
Manchester City hitman Aguero has become one of the most revered strikers in Europe since arriving at the Etihad in 2011.
The Argentina marksman was instrumental in the club gaining their first ever Premier League crown in 2012 and will go down in the club’s folklore for that memorable title winning strike against QPR. He has also earlier won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, proving he is a proven hit since winning the Golden Boy award.
Anderson, 2008 (MISS)
On to a big miss on our list. Former Man Utd flop Anderson had arrived at Old Trafford with a huge reputation and the Brazilian did help the club win a Premier League and European double in his maiden season.
Although, it was all downhill from there for the Brazilian, who now plies his trade with Internacional in his homeland.
Alexandre Pato, 2009 (MISS)
Another Brazilian on our list, this time former AC Milan and Samba Boys prospect Pato. The previous Chelsea flop shot to prominence as a huge talent at the San Siro, winning the Golden Boy in 2009 for his outstanding showings.
Pato was part of Milan’s last Serie A winning side but has since endured a massive decline, moving on to Corinthians, before hapless loan spells with Sao Paulo and Chelsea. Now residing at Villarreal, the once highly-rated forward will look to finally return to top form in La Liga.
Mario Balotelli, 2010 (MISS)
Balotelli may yet prove to be a big hit after recently helping Nice star in Ligue 1 this term, but past underwhelming campaigns with Man City, AC Milan (twice) and Liverpool have seen him so far fail to fulfil his early potential.
Mario Gotze, 2011 (HIT)
It will be hard for Gotze to ever top scoring the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final. The Germany attacker handed his nation glory two years with an extra-time strike but has suffered a decline in form since.
Although, with five Bundesliga titles with both Borussia Dortmund, his current club again, and Bayern, the 24-year-old is still seen as a hit with Coral and has plenty of time to return to his best.
Isco, 2012 (MISS)
Real Madrid’s Spanish playmaker Isco has endured an indifferent spell at the Bernabeu after moving from Malaga. He has been involved in two European Cup winning squads but his impact hasn’t been as expected and has fallen out of favour under Zinedine Zidane.
Paul Pogba, 2013 (HIT)
Pogba became the world’s most expensive player when returning to Man Utd and, in spite of early lacklustre showings, he was a vital component for Juventus in their domestic dominance in Italy before his £100m departure.
Raheem Sterling, 2014 (MISS)
Despite securing a £50m switch from Liverpool to Man City, Sterling is so far yet to deliver on his price tag, but that could change after this season under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola.
Anthony Martial, 2015 (HIT)
Last year’s Golden Boy winner Martial was one of Man Utd’s biggest performers in Louis van Gaal’s final term in charge. The Frenchman dazzled with a debut goal over bitter rivals Liverpool and won the FA Cup, also earning a call-up to France’s Euro 2016 set-up.
What do you think of our Hit or Miss Golden Boy award winners list? Have your say below in our comments section!