POGBA, MBAPPE AMONG ALL 16 WORLD CUP BEST YOUNG PLAYER AWARD WINNERS
Qatar will host the 22nd Fifa World Cup over November and December, where an array of promising gems will challenge to become the 17th winner of the Best Young Player award.
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe was the last player to receive the gong first given at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The France ace was also just the third teenager to take the title, having helped his nation to win the competition for only the second time.
Fifa formally introduced the Best Young Player award, which is handed out after a vote by fans, for the World Cup in 2006. But the governing body retrospectively acknowledged the standout players during each tournament held between 1958 and 2002 later on in 2009.
Players cannot be older than 21 years whilst featuring at the World Cup to be qualified for the award. Fifa’s Technical Study Group then selects the nominees, before it is then put to supporters to vote for online at the end of the tournament based on what they have given.
Global megastars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do not boast the Best Young Player at a World Cup award in their illustrious trophy cabinets. Messi made his tournament bow at the 2006 edition for Argentina aged 18, whilst Portugal icon Ronaldo debuted in 2006 at 21.
Barcelona and Spain wonderkid Gavi, 18, Arsenal and France centre-half William Saliba, 21, and Bayern Munich and Germany playmaker Jamal Musiala, 19, should be just a few of the promising gems who will compete for the Best Young Player award at the 2022 World Cup.
So, with that in mind, HITC Sport takes a look at all of the Best Young Player award winners during the past 16 World Cup tournaments where Fifa have recognised the brightest gem…
FIFA RECOGNISED BRAZIL GREAT PELE AS BEST YOUNG PLAYER AT THE 1958 WORLD CUP
Fifa recognised Brazil great Pele as the Best Young Player at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden when the governing body retrospectively gave out the gong. The forward was just 17 years old when he took the global stage by storm and help the Selecao win their first World Cup.
Brazil have gone on to become the most decorated nation in history with five World Cups, from Italy and Germany (4). But they owe a lot to Pele for helping seal their first when the Tres Coracoes native broke out the gates with six goals and one assist in four appearances.
Pele did not appear at the 1958 World Cup until the third match of Group 4 when Vicente Feola started the Santos product against the Soviet Union. Yet he took to the occasion and assisted before scoring against Wales, a hat-trick against France and two against Sweden.
FLORIAN ALBERT OF HUNGARY RECEIVED 1962 WORLD CUP BEST YOUNG PLAYER AWARD
Florian Albert of Hungary received the Best Young Player award for the 1962 World Cup in Chile after helping Magyarok reach the quarter-finals. At 20 years old, the striker found the back of the net on his competition debut to help beat England 2-1 in their first Group 4 tie..
A goal against the Three Lions was just the start for Albert, though, as he followed it with a hat-trick to smash Bulgaria 6-1. However, the group stage treble would prove to be his last goal at a World Cup finals after failing to find the back of the net at all at the 1966 edition.
FIFA NAMED FRANZ BECKENBAUER AS BEST YOUNG PLAYER AT THE 1966 WORLD CUP
Fifa named Franz Beckenbauer as the Best Young Player at the 1966 World Cup in England after he helped Germany reach the final. The 103-cap icon played every minute across Die Mannschaft’s six matches as a holding midfielder, and he offered four goals along the way.
His efforts at 20 years old helped Germany beat Switzerland 5-0 in the group stage, before then scoring in a 4-0 quarter-final win over Uruguay and 2-1 semi-final win over the Soviet Union. But Beckenbauer would not help his nation avoid losing 4-2 in the final to England.