Real Madrid and England star Jude Bellingham has won the 2023 Kopa Trophy, beating a host of child prodigies to the prestigious award.
Bellingham scored his first goal for the Three Lions at the 2022 World Cup and almost inspired Borussia Dortmund to their first Bundesliga title since 2012 before collapsing at the end of the 2022/23 season.
The 20-year-old has since joined Real Madrid and cemented his superstar status by scoring 13 goals in his first 13 games for Los Blancos, most recently scoring a double to help his side beat Barcelona in El Clasico.
Bellingham sent club-mate Eduardo Camavinga, Barcelona duo Pedri and Gavi and Germany star Jamal Musial among others to collect the gong. Pedri and Gavi won the Kopa Trophy in 2021 and 2022.
The former Birmingham midfielder is also widely expected to win the 2023 Golden Boy award – awarded by Italian publication Tuttosport – in just under two weeks.
Bellingham became England’s first winner of the award when he finished second to Pedri two years ago. Manchester United outcast Jadon Sancho finished as runner-up in 2019 when Matthijs de Ligt was crowned the world’s best young player.
He was also among the nominees for the Ballon d’Or, finishing 18th, just one ahead of England team-mate Harry Kane. Lionel Messi is expected to take the award this year, but Bellingham could be among the favorites when it is presented in 2024.