Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala (l-r.) are in the running for the 2021 Golden Boy. - © DFL
Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz, Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala (l-r.) are in the running for the 2021 Golden Boy. - © DFL

Jude Bellingham, Gio Reyna, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz the four Bundesliga-based 2021 Golden Boy nominees


Jude Bellingham, Gio Reyna, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz are the four Bundesliga-based names in contention to succeed Golden Boy holder Erling Haaland as the best footballer under the age of 21 in one of Europe's top-flight leagues, per UEFA coefficient.

In Mario Götze, Renato Sanches and Haaland, the Bundesliga boasts three previous winners of the award, presented by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport since 2003 and decided by a panel of experts. runs the rule over the top talents out to make it four...

Jude Bellingham

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Central midfielder

Bellingham is a leading candidate for the prize. The English teenager has made running the show from midfield at the highest level look like child's play, breaking all manner of records during his debut season with Borussia Dortmund. The youngest DFB Cup winner, UEFA Champions League knockout-round goalscorer and UEFA Euros debutant turns 18 in June - if he goes on to be named Golden Boy, he'll usurp Lionel Messi as the accolade's greenest winner.

Watch: A Jude Bellingham highlight reel

"I cannot believe it, maybe he's a liar. He's so good for 17-years-old, he's a fantastic player," enthused Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola after witnessing the all-action Bellingham first hand in the Champions League quarter-finals. "There was one moment when he didn't get the ball from central defenders, how he shouts and demands that ball to him at 17 means a lot. I spoke with his manager, Edin [Terzic], and he told me what you see in these two games is like every training session."

Gio Reyna

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Age: 18
Position: Attacking midfielder

Reyna converted a Bundesliga debut assist from Bellingham on Matchday 1 of the 2020/21 season. Both 17 at the time, they are the youngest goal-scoring combo in Bundesliga history. It was one of seven competitive strikes scored by the US international at club level during his first full pro campaign. The USA's answer to Brazil legend Kaka also produced seven assists, whilst scoring an A+ with his fourth USMNT goal in the come-from-behind victory over Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League final.

Watch: Gio Reyna's learning curve

"At such a young age to be so calm on the ball and play for such a big team, it's very fascinating to see how calm he is and he doesn't care about anything, he just jumps right into it," explained BVB striker Haaland. "He's a top talent, and we're lucky to have him here. The American Dream, I call him that. He has a huge future ahead of him."

Jamal Musiala

Club: Bayern Munich
Age: 18
Position: Midfielder

Cruising along his own career fast lane at record champions Bayern, Jamal Musiala sparked an international tug of war between England and Germany, before declaring for the latter - his country of birth - in time for Euro 2020. The former Chelsea academy dynamo was one of the breakout stars of the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign, registering six goals and one assist, as well as an historic Champions League strike against Lazio.

Watch: Jamal Musiala's best bits

"I don't know if we stole him! I looked at his bloodlines and there was no English blood in there!," Musiala's Bayern mentor, Thomas Müller, told the Daily Mail. "We're very happy in Germany that Jamal decided for Germany. The set-up now, with his long contract at Bayern and decision for the German national team, fits very well. I'm very happy with him."

Florian Wirtz

Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Age: 18
Position: Attacking midfielder

Florian Wirtz and Musiala look set to be colleagues in Hansi Flick's Germany for some time to come. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder was instrumental in the U21s' 2021 Euro triumph, starting all three knockout games and scoring both goals against the Netherlands in the semi-finals. It was merely a continuation of some eye-catching performances across his first full season with the Leverkusen seniors - namely five goals and six assists in 29 top-flight appearances.

Watch: Florian Wirtz makes Bundesliga history