U21 Ballon d’Or

Kylian Mbappe and Trent Alexander-Arnold lead 10-man shortlist for first ever U21 Ballon d’Or

  • Kylian Mbappe and Trent Alexander-Arnold lead the U21 Ballon d’Or shortlist
  • Known as the Trophee Kopa, it is awarded to the best player under the age of 21 
  • AC Milan pair Patrick Cutrone and Gianluigi Donnarumma also made the cut
  • Justin Kluivert of Roma and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic are named.

Kylian Mbappe and Trent Alexander Arnold lead the shortlist for the first ever U21 Ballon d’Or award.

As well as the main award, two new awards have been revealed for this year to include U21 and women’s players.

Known as the Trophee Kopa, it is awarded to the best player under the age of 21 and is voted for by the 33 previous winners of the main Ballon d’Or prize – including Cristiano Ronaldo  and Lionel Messi

Kylian Mbappe is the stand-out name as the 10-man shortlist for the U21 Ballon d'Or came out

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold is the sole Premier League representative on the shortlist

10-MAN SHORTLIST

Houssem Aouar – Lyon – 20

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool – 20

Patrick Cutrone – AC Milan – 20

Ritsu Doan – FC Groningen – 20

Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan – 19

Amadou Haidara – RB Salzburg – 20

Justin Kluivert – Roma – 19

Kylian Mbappe – PSG – 19

Christian Pulisic – Borussia Dortmund – 20

Rodrygo – Santos – 17

Alexander-Arnold enjoyed a stellar breakthrough campaign at right back for Liverpool and his form saw him impress in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

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For Mbappe, the favourite to land the award, he continues to go from strength to strength, showing his class as recently as this weekend when he netted four against Lyon in just 13 minutes.

Winning the prize would cap off another sensational 12 months for the French youngster after he won the domestic treble with PSG and went on to play a pivotal role in France’s victorious World Cup campaign.

Another Ligue 1 starlet, Houssem Aouar, has also made the final shortlist. The Lyon play maker made 44 appearances in all competitions last season during his debut first-team season.

AC Milan pair Patrick Cutrone and Gianluigi Donnarumma earned spots having become ever-presents under Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso.

Houssem Aouar made 44 appearances in all competitions for Lyon last season

Young Italian striker Patrick Cutrone continues to impress for his boyhood club AC Milan

Gianluigi Donnarumma, dubbed the new Gianluigi Buffon, has been rewarded with a spot

Justin Kluivert left boyhood club Ajax for the Italian capital this summer and has started well

Justin Kluivert, the son of retired striker Patrick, is another Serie A starlet to have made the final cut. The Dutchman moved to Roma this summer in a deal worth £16.5m and has scored one goal in five appearances.

Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic is a strong contender for the award. The American was the subject of heavy transfer speculation linking him with a move away from Germany but nothing materialised.

He has managed two goals in six appearances this campaign, helping Dortmund to the top of the Bundesliga table.

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Amadou Haidara helped Red Bull Salzburg to the Europa League semi-finals last season and has been rewarded with a place on the final shortlist. The 20-year-old was linked with Southampton this summer but remained in Austria and continues to impress.

Borussia Dortmund's American winger Christian Pulisic is a strong contender for the award

Amadou Haidara helped Red Bull Salzburg to the Europa League semi-finals last season

FC Groningen's Japanese attacking midfielder Ritsu Doan also made the final shortlist

FC Groningen’s Japanese attacking midfielder Ritsu Doan also made the final shortlist

Big things are expected from 17-year-old Brazilian forward Rodrygo of Santos in the future

FC Groningen’s Japanese attacking midfielder Ritsu Doan and 17-year-old Brazilian forward Rodrygo of Santos complete the list. 

The award has been named after Raymond Kopa, the first Frenchman to ever win the Ballon d’Or when he lifted it in 1958.

Judges will convene in the coming months and the first winner of the new award will be revealed on December 3.

Former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, winner in 1998, is on the panel alongside fellow household names such as Bobby Charlton, Ronaldinho, Ruud Gullit  and Kaka.

WHO IS ON THE JUDGING PANEL?

Luis Suarez (1960 Ballon d’Or winner)

Denis Law (1964)

Bobby Charlton (1966)

Gianni Rivera (1969)

Gerd Muller (1970)

Oleg Blokhine (1975)

Franz Beckenbauer (1972, 1976)

Allan Simonsen (1977)

Kevin Keegan (1978, 1979)

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1980, 1981)

Paolo Rossi (1982)

Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985)

Igor Belanov (1986)

Ruud Gullit (1987)

Lothar Matthaus (1990)

Jean-Pierre Papin (1991)

Marco Van Basten (1988, 1989, 1992)

Roberto Baggio (1993)

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Hristo Stoichkov (1994)

George Weah (1995)

Matthias Sammer (1996)

Zinedine Zidane (1998)

Rivaldo (1999)

Luis Figo (2000)

Michael Owen (2001)

Ronaldo (1997, 2002)

Pavel Nedved (2003)

Andreo Chevtchenko (2004)

Ronaldinho (2005)

Fabio Cannavaro (2006)

Kaka (2007)

Lionel Messi (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)

Cristiano Ronaldo (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)

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