Jude Bellingham collected the 2023 Golden Boy Award for Europe’s best under-21 player on Monday, receiving a record-breaking 485 of a possible 500 points from the jury.
The Real Madrid midfielder has had a flying start to life at the Bernabeu, scoring 15 goals in his first 16 games after joining from Borussia Dortmund. He received the prize at a ceremony organised by its founders, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport, in Turin.
Bellingham is the first Madrid player to win the award, which has been handed out since 2003. He follows Barcelona midfielders Gavi, who won it in 2022, and Pedri, who won it in 2021.
The prize is voted on by 50 journalists from newspapers, magazines and TV channels around Europe. Each voter picks their top five players. First place receives 10 points, second place receives seven points, third place receives five points, fourth place receives three points and fifth place receives one point.
Bellingham was voted in first place by 45 of the jurors — and in second place by the other five — giving him a 485-point total.
The only previous winner to match his dominance was Kylian Mbappé, who got 291 out of 300 points in 2017, when there were just 30 voters.
Real Madrid and Colombia forward Linda Caicedo, 18, won the 2023 Golden Girl Award.
Brighton’s Tony Bloom received the award for Best European President, while Arsenal sporting director Edu Gaspar was named Best European Manager.
“There are many happy people in Madrid, starting with the president,” Bellingham told Tuttosport, in an interview published earlier on Monday.
“This was my last chance [to win the Golden Boy], because in 2024 I will no longer be able to compete … I’m happy to have made it on the third try. It’s a trophy for life, that you can only win once.”
Bellingham thanked Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti for his form so far in 2023-24.
“The credit goes to Mr. Ancelotti, who found the right position for me and gave me more freedom on the pitch,” Bellingham said. “But I know that I’m disappointing him in one aspect … I don’t speak Spanish yet. It’s hard for me. But I promise maximum commitment, guaranteed.”
Bellingham backed teammate Arda Güler, 18 — who is yet to make his Madrid debut after suffering a series of injuries since joining last summer — as a contender to compete for the award in the future.
“He’s a phenomenon,” he said. “We see him in training and we’re delighted with him. Then, my former teammate Jamie Bynoe-Gittens from Borussia Dortmund. And finally, my brother Jobe.”