The Golden Boy Award which is awarded to the most promising footballer of the year under 21 years of age has been won by the Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt for the year 2018.
At an age as young as 19 years, De Ligt is already handling the responsibilty of captain of his club. Such a privilege and authority in the budding years of a footballer’s career is remarkable.
He won the award ahead of Trent Alexander Arnold, Justin Kluivert, Patrick Cutrone, Vinicius Junior and many others. The before mentioned players were seeded 2nd – 5th respectively in the ranking.
De Ligt has made 27 appearances for the club and scored 3 goals to help his team reach their the second round of Champions League for the first time in 13 years.
This win for De ligt sounds even more special when one comes to know that this was the first time since the inception of the award that a defender has won it. All the previous editions of the award have been won either by a forward or a midfielder. The last edition of The Golden Boy award was won by PSG forwrad Kylian Mbappe.
This prestigious feat has been won by the likes of Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Isco, Rahem Sterling, Paul Pogba etc. He is also the second Dutchman to be given the title, following 2003 winner Rafael van der Vaart, who also won it during his time at Ajax. De Ligt has expressed how honoured he feels to have joined the alumni of this award and has said that winning it being a defender adds even more value to it.
He told the Italian newspaper Tuttosort that “I found out through my agent Mino Raiola, but Ajax also informed me.”
“Of course I checked the list of former winners. I know it almost by heart.
“There are only very large names in that list but, if I have to name one, Messi is the man for me.”
“Everyone knows him and they know what he did for football. I really like him as a player.”
“So, I’m very proud to have won the same trophy that he has raised before me – 13 years ago, when I was only six years.”
“I am very pleased to be the first defender to win this award,” he added.”
“And knowing that so far only strikers and midfielders had won, it gives me an even more special feeling.”
“In general, in the photographs more often attackers and midfielders appear. This really means a lot to me, that I occupy another role.”
The Dutchman had already incited a lot of interest from the top clubs of Europe like Barcelona, Man City, Bayern and Juventus. Now that he has added such a trophy to his CV he has made his case stronger. Of all the clubs, Barcelona seem to be the first in the que to sign him. However, he has declared his commitment to Ajax for now and has said that he hasn’t taken any decision yet.