Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland has been named the 2020 Golden Boy winner, which comes as a just reward for his stunning performance over the last year.
The Golden Boy award was introduced by the Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport in 2003 and is awarded to players adjudged to have been the best in a calendar year, with the requirements being that the player must be aged 21 years or under and playing first-team football in a European club.
Former Netherlands international Rafael Van der Vaart was the first winner of the award, while bonafide legends of the game like Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, and Cesc Fabregas have also won it.
Last year saw Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix join the pantheon of winners after his breathtaking displays for Benfica and he has been followed by Erling Haaland.
The 20-year-old already has legacy in his bloodline, being the son of Leeds United legendary defender Alf-Inge Haaland but while his father’s primary aim was stopping opposition forwards from scoring, he is charged with putting the ball into the back of the net.
Erling Haaland grabbed global headlines when he scored nine goals in Norway’s 12-0 demolition of Honduras in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland, writing his name into the history books as the first player to score that many goals at a FIFA tournament while he also won the Golden Boot despite exiting the competition in the group stage.
This was a pre-cursor for things to come and Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg promptly snatched him and he continued his goalscoring rampage in the Austrian Bundesliga.
He registered 29 goals and seven assists from just 27 games in all competitions for Salzburg, with six of those coming in the Champions League.
His performance in Austria prompted a race for his signature, with Manchester United and RB Leipzig among the clubs interested, but Borussia Dortmund ultimately signed him in January.
Anybody who expressed doubts over whether Erling Haaland could make a mark on the big stage were in for a shock, as he immediately adapted to his new surroundings and has continued scoring goals at an alarming rate.
He made history, when he needed just 23 minutes to score a hat-trick off the bench on his Dortmund debut and became the first Bundesliga player to score five goals in his first two league games.
Records have continued to tumble almost on a weekly basis and the former Bryne man has scored goals at an almost unprecedented rate.
This saw him nominated for the Golden Boy award, alongside other exciting starlets like Ansu Fati, Alphonso Davies, Mason Greenwood, and Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho.
Haaland was, however, the shoo-in favorite to win the award and he graced the front page of Tuttosport as the latest winner of the prestigious accolade.
This season, the Norway international has continued from where he left off and currently has 11 goals and three assists from 11 games in all competitions for Dortmund, with six of those coming in the league and four in three Champions League games.
His form has seen him linked with a move away from the Signal Iduna Park but his father has come out to clarify that this is not the case and that his son remains focused on helping Dortmund achieve their goals.
”When you play well, it’s only logical that big clubs knock on your door, but we’re talking about speculation here.
”At the moment it’s not in Erling’s or my head that another club will be vying for him. We signed a long contract with Dortmund and they have a fantastic team for Erling right now. We don’t want to look any further ahead.”
He, however, refused to rule out a move in the future, emphasizing that his son is good enough to play in any league.
“You never know what will happen. We haven’t talked about such a step yet. I think he would like to win some trophies with Dortmund. That is his goal. Erling can still achieve a lot in Germany and make great progress. Moving abroad is not a priority for us.
“I sometimes think he wants to and can assert himself in any league. At the moment, he is happy in the Bundesliga and focused on Dortmund. He just wants to be a better player and doesn’t look too far ahead.”
Erling Haaland was called up for the latest Norwegian squad but he was forced to quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test was returned in the camp, thereby ruling him and his teammates out of the fixture with Austria.
He would be in line to make a return to competitive action when Dortmund travel to take on Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga.
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