The 40 nominees for the 2019 Golden Boy award have been revealed

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Twenty-four hours after Lionel Messi picked up FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award in Milan, Tuttosport released the 40 names that will compete for the ‘Golden Boy’ award.

The award is voted for by sports journalists and is given to the young footballer (under the age of 21) playing in Europe that is believed to have had the best calendar year.

Newspapers that are involved in the voting are: Bild (Germany), Blick (Switzerland), A Bola (Portugal), l'Équipe (France), France Football (France), Marca (Spain), Mundo Deportivo (Spain), Ta Nea (Greece), Sport Express (Russia), De Telegraaf (Netherlands), and The Times (United Kingdom).

Each voting member selects five players with 10 points being given to first place, seven points for second, five points for third, three points for fourth, and one point for fifth.

Previous winners include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Anthony Martial.

However, there are also winners that have failed to fulfil their promise.

Former Manchester United player Anderson won the accolade in 2008, compatriot Alexandre Pato won it in 2009, Mario Balotelli in 2010 and Renato Sanchez in 2016.

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But the last two winners look destined for greatness - Kylian Mbappe and Matthijs de Ligt.

So, who are the 40 players competing for the 2019 award?

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Incredible talent everywhere you look.

But who is most likely to be on that podium come January?

It seems there are three standout candidates - Joao Felix, Jadon Sancho and De Ligt.

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Felix moved from Benfica to Atletico Madrid in the summer for a fee worth around £113 million.

As for Sancho, since he moved from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 he’s been taken the Bundesliga by storm.

If he was to move, he’d no doubt command a transfer fee similar - or even greater - to Felix’s.

Meanwhile De Ligt picked up the award last year and, following his £67.8 million move to Juventus in the summer, will be looking to establish himself as one of the best defenders in world football.

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