How Erling Haaland Won the 2020 Golden Boy Award

How Erling Haaland Won the 2020 Golden Boy Award

Erling Haaland has won the prestigious Golden Boy award for 2020, being voted ahead of a star-studded list of contenders including Borussia Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho, Barcelona forward Ansu Fati and Bayern Munich full-back Alphonso Davies.

Established by Italian newspaper Tuttosport in 2003, the prize is awarded to the best player under the age of 21 across Europe’s domestic top tiers.

Haaland joins an illustrious list of former winners, including Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Mario Balotelli.

So in 10 years time, Haaland could either end up as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game – or he could be training with a semi professional Italian fourth tier side.

The Dortmund forward has enjoyed a stunning 2019/20 season. At just 20 years old, he is already posting Messi and Ronaldo-esque scoring figures.

Haaland netted 44 goals and grabbed 10 assists in 40 appearances in all competitions last season for RB Salzburg and then Dortmund, who he joined in January for €20m.

Erling Haaland
Haaland averaged more than a goal a game last season

Messi and Ronaldo have normalised these kind of ridiculous scoring statistics. Averaging a goal every hour is outrageous – even more so when you were born in the 21st century and are too young to even know who the Spice Girls are.

Moving from Salzburg to Dortmund – one of the top teams in European football – could not phase him either.

There’s hitting the ground running, and then there’s Erling Haaland.

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The Norwegian international netted a hat-trick on his Dortmund debut against Ausburg, despite playing just 34 minutes. There was a brace against Koln in the following game, a full 25 minutes spent on the pitch this time. And another double on his first Champions League outing for Dortmund – against the might of PSG, no less.

Erling Braut Haaland
Haaland turned in a performance to savour against PSG 

The manner in which he handled expectations and made the smooth transition from Salzburg to Dortmund while still a teenager is hugely impressive – particularly when you consider how Joao Félix, 2019 winner of the Golden Boy award, took to life at Atletico Madrid a little slower following his blockbuster transfer from Benfica. Having bundles of natural ability does not guarantee a move to a new club in a new league in a new country will instantly pay off – but Haaland took it in his stride.

This is what instantly strikes you about Haaland; there is already such a maturity to his game. It almost seems unfair that someone who plays with all the poise and intelligence of a seasoned veteran can scoop an award designed for the best players under the age of 21.

He leads the line solo at one of the top teams in European football. At the age of 20. Extraordinary.

Haaland is a machine. His strength and athleticism are incredible for someone so young, while he has the intelligent movement to match his youthful pace, making him such a threat in behind.

And we haven’t even mentioned his finishing. The coolness, composure and anticipation in the penalty area is sensational. And he can’t half strike a ball.

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The noise the net made when Haaland sent a fizzing left foot drive soaring into the top corner against PSG is a good enough reason in itself for the Dortmund starlet to receive the 2020 Golden Boy award.

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