Premier League stars Matteo Guendouzi and Moise Kean are among the ten nominees for France Football’s Kopa Trophy, the Ballon d’Or equivalent for the best performing player under the age of 21.
In addition to Arsenal’s Guendouzi and Everton’s Kean, the other names on the shortlist are: Villarreal Samuel Chukwueze, Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, Valencia’s Kang-in Lee, Real Madrid duo Vinicius Junior and Andriy Lunin and Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.
20-year-old De Ligt may be the early frontrunner after an outstanding calendar year for the Netherlands defender who captained Ajax to a domestic double as well as reaching the Champions League semi-final.
As one of the transfer window’s most courted players, the wonderkid completed a €75m move to Italian champions Juventus, for whom he has featured eight times so far.
19-year-old Felix – the world’s second most expensive teenager after last year’s winner Kylian Mbappe – is another frontrunner, while Britain’s only nominee Sancho (19) also enjoyed a fine year in which he scored his first senior England goals and was the Bundesliga’s top assist maker.
Named after former France star Raymond Kopa, the winner of the trophy is voted for by a panel of former Ballon d’Or winners. The 2019 award will be only the second since the trophy was created with Mbappe winning the inaugural prize in 2018. Curiously, the France forward is absent from this year’s nominees despite still being under 21.
In addition to the Kopa Trophy, France Football also released the shortlist’s for their men and women’s Ballon d’Or awards and Yachine Trophy, for best goalkeeper of the year.
The awards are among the most coveted in football and stand alongside FIFA’s own The Best as the most prestigious of individual honours in the sport.
All of France Football’s awards will be given out in a ceremony in Paris on 2 December.
See here for the full list of Ballon d’Or nominees.