What happened to the 18 previous Golden Boy award winners?

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood finished 12th last season - behind the likes of Arsenal's Bukayo Saka and Barcelona's Ansu Fati


Manchester United winger Mason Greenwood and Man City's duo of Filip Stevanovic and Adrian Bernabe were all included on the 2021 Golden Boy award shortlist.

Greenwood enjoyed a stellar second half of the season with the Reds, scoring 12 goals and chipping in with a further six assists last term to help earn him a place in England's provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2020 before pulling out with an injury.

City youngster Bernabe featured heavily for the reserve side while Stevanovic enjoyed a productive loan spell with Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian first division.

The Manchester clubs have had a number of their players winning the prestigious award during spells at the club - with Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and Anderson all winning the prize during spells at Old Trafford and Mario Balotelli picking up the award during his stint at City.

Furthermore, previous winners Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero went on to play for City after winning the award and Paul Pogba won the award during his time with Juventus, which was sandwiched between stays with United.

Here we have detailed the 18 previous winners of the award and how their careers fared after being billed as Europe's best under-21 talent.

2003 - Raphael van der Vaart

Dutch midfielder van der Vaart was the inaugural winner of the prize before moving on to Spanish giants Real Madrid a few years later.

However, he struggled in the Spanish capital and eventually left for Tottenham, where he became a fan favourite, registering 46 goal contributions across his three seasons in North London. He retired in 2018 and now regularly features as a pundit.

2004 - Wayne Rooney

Rooney is the first of four players on this list to play for United and won the award in his debut campaign at Old Trafford.

The mercurial frontman had an incredible career with the Reds, winning everything possible at club level and is both United's and England's all-time leading scorer.

Rooney recently moved into management with Derby County.

2005 - Lionel Messi

Messi won the award after breaking into the Barcelona first XI in early 2005.

Fast forward 16 years and he has bagged over 700 goals, won 34 trophies at club level and may retire as the greatest player of all time. Not bad for a player once deemed too small to make it as a professional.

2006 - Cesc Fabregas

Eyebrows were raised when Arsene Wenger opted to sell midfield stalwart Patrick Vieira in order to give Cesc Fabregas game time in the summer of 2005 but the Spanish magician soon repaid the faith his coach had shown.

Fabregas has registered 140 goals and 247 assists, including setting up the winner in the 2010 World Cup final. He now plies his trade with Monaco in France.

2007 - Sergio Aguero

Argentine striker Sergio Aguero won the award due to a stellar campaign with Atletico Madrid before departing for Manchester City four years later.

Aguero is the Blues' all-time leading goalscorer with 260 goals in 390 games, including the iconic last-gasp goal against QPR in 2012 that clinched City their first title since 1968. He is leaving the Etihad at the end of the month to join Messi at Barcelona.

2008 - Anderson

Anderson is one of the few players on this list that didn't go on to realise their potential.

The Brazilian midfielder spent eight seasons at United but failed to live up to the considerable hype he had garnered during his time at Porto. He retired last year at the age of 32 and now is the assistant manager of Turkish side Adana Demirspor.

2009 - Alexandre Pato

Another Brazilian who failed to ever hit the heights that he managed to during his teenage years was Alex Pato.

He was electric during his early years with AC Milan before injuries began to take their toll and he now plays for MLS side Orlando City.

2010 - Mario Balotelli

Italian frontman Mario Balotelli was a controversial yet talented figure during his spell with City, bagging 30 goals with the Blues and one assist - which just so happened to be the aforementioned Aguero title clincher.

Eventually, he fell out with City boss Roberto Mancini before moves to Liverpool, AC Milan and Marseille to name a few. He now plays for Serie B side Monza.

2011 - Mario Gotze

Mario Gotze is another Golden Boy winner who played a part in a Worl Cup-winning goal as he scored the only goal of the game for Germany when they defeated Argentina 1-0 in the 2014 final.

The attacking-midfielder has had his career disrupted by injuries during two spells at Borussia Dortmund and one at Bayern Munich. He now plays for Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

2012 - Isco

Spanish playmaker Isco won the award for his stellar performances with Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga side before a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2013.

Isco has featured over 300 times for Los Blancos, winning two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues in that time.

2013 - Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba was allowed to leave United in 2012 but came back four years later for a then-record transfer fee of £89million after a hugely impressive spell with Juventus.

The Frenchman has been somewhat inconsistent during his second stint with the Reds but has still managed to register 80 goals and assists in 206 games.

2014 - Raheem Sterling

English forward Raheem Sterling won the award after an impressive 2014 with Liverpool, before joining City in the summer of 2015.

Sterling has enjoyed an extremely productive career at the Etihad, notching 114 goals and 87 assists in 292 games for the Blues to help his side win three of the last four Premier League titles.

2015 - Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial was an instant fan favourite after scoring a wonderful goal on his United debut during a 3-1 win over Liverpool in September 2015.

The French forward has struggled for consistency during his time at Old Trafford and has recently found himself behind Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's pecking order.

2016 - Renato Sanches

Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches is another winner of the award who struggled to live up to the hype.

He failed to establish himself at Bayern Munich and endured a tough loan spell with Swansea City before a move to French side Lille in 2019. Sanches has got his career back on track with Les Dogues, helping guide them to the Ligue 1 title last term, earning a call up to Portugal's Euro 2020 squad for his efforts.

2017 - Kylian Mbappe

Since bursting onto the scene Kylian Mbappe has always looked like a player destined for greatness.

The 22-year-old starred during France's 2018 World Cup win and has been incredible at club level with PSG, netting 132 goals in 171 games during his spell in the French capital.

2018 - Matthijs de Ligt

Dutch defender De Ligt attracted attention from across Europe after captaining his first Ajax match when he was just 18 years old.

Since then he has never looked back, helping guide his side past Real Madrid and Juventus during their famous 2018/19 Champions League run before earning a move to the latter that summer.

2019 - Joao Felix

Joao Felix notched 32 goal contributions for Benfica in the 2018/19 campaign to help earn him a whopping £100million-plus move to Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2019.

The Portuguese frontman has struggled to replicate the form with Atletico that he showed for the Eagles but at just 21 years old he has plenty of time to grow into one of Europe's most lethal attackers.

2020 - Erling Haaland

Norwegian forward Erling Haaland has been phenomenal since breaking through with RB Salzburg less than two years ago.

Haaland has scored 57 goals in 59 games with Borussia Dortmund and has a host of European clubs chasing his signature this summer and both Manchester clubs are reportedly interested.

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