Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala featured on a whittled down list of four players for the prestigious Golden Boy award, with the Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich talents pushing eventual winner Gavi close at a ceremony held in Palermo.
The annual prize recognises the best footballer under the age of 21 in one of Europe's top-flight leagues, per UEFA coefficient.
Mario Götze, Renato Sanches and Erling Haaland are among previous Bundesliga-based winners of the award, presented by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport since 2003 and decided by a panel of experts.
Bellingham was one of two Borussia Dortmund players remaining on the previous 20-strong shortlist. The England international, who only turned 19 on 29 June, cemented his position as one of the most complete young midfielders in world football during the 2021/22 campaign. He registered six goals and 14 assists across 44 appearances in all competitions, whilst winning more challenges and covering more ground than any of his teammates, and has made a record-breaking start to 2022/23.
Karim Adeyemi was the other BVB player in the running ahead of the final four being selected. The Germany forward produced 23 goals and nine assists for Red Bull Salzburg last season, top scoring in the Austrian Bundesliga (19 goals) and getting his hands on a league and cup double, before earning a summer move to Dortmund, where he's since scored twice in nine games.
For his part, 19-year-old Musiala - who made it onto the final list along with Bellingham, Gavi and Eduardo Camavinga - enjoyed a career-best season with eight goals and six assists in the colours of Bayern. The 15-time Germany international, who has eight goals and eight assists in 2022/23 so far, was joined by club-mates Ryan Gravenberch and Mathys Tel on the 20-strong selection for the prize.
Watch: Jude Bellingham & Jamal Musiala - calm under pressure
The list of nominees began at 80 before being chopped down to 60, 40, 20 and then four. Josko Gvardiol was the sole remaining representative of 2021/22 DFB Cup winners RB Leipzig, after a breakout campaign with the club last term.
This year's winner was revealed at a small ceremony inside the Hotel Villa Igiea in Palermo.
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