Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has rounded off a sensational 2013 by scooping the prestigious Golden Boy award, a prize handed out to the most impressive Under-21 playing in one of Europe’s top-flight leagues.
The final recipient of the accolade, launched in 2003 by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport, is decided by a panel of 30 top European journalists, who ruled the 20-year-old’s performances in the black and white stripes to be worthy of this year’s illustrious title.
Having beaten off close competition from Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler and Chelsea-owned Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Pogba was in Val d’Aosta’s Saint Vincent, the location of the Bianconeri’s pre-season preparations, to receive the 11th edition of the prize in person tonight.
This evening’s awards ceremony was a fitting way to mark the final month of a remarkable year for the French talent.
After forcing his way into the first-team fold during an explosive first few months in Turin, Pogba went on to become an integral part of Antonio Conte’s Scudetto and Super Cup-winning team.
On the international front, he captained his native France to this summer’s Under-20 World Cup triumph before making a seamless transition to Didier Deschamps’ senior side, who sealed World Cup qualification with last month’s dramatic 3-2 aggregate win over Ukraine.
Pogba, the first Juventus player to win the award, shares his title with some of the world’s greatest talents, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi among the previous victors.