by Guido Vaciago

The Golden Boy is growing and confirming itself as Europe’s most innovative award: twenty years ago it broke new ground, creating the first award for the best under-21 player in the European leagues; today it opens a new frontier, becoming the first award to combine an algorithm with a voting panel. And not just any voting panel, but its famous panel, which has not misjudged a winner over the years.

The Golden Boy changes and also changes the narrative of football, because the Golden Boy Index is a revolutionary tool and will become a kind of Atp ranking of football, with which to measure the best under-21s and follow their evolution over the season. The Golden Boy Index will become a point of reference for international football fans and insiders alike. In times when there is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, we like to think we have created a tool that combines human intelligence and experience with technological perfection.

To build our ranking, we created a joint venture with Football Benchmark, ‘The’ home of football business data: we spent months working on the project, to be able to mix the human experience of our journalists who have always compiled the lists of candidates and the solidity of statistical data, in order to create a humanised algorithm, precise and sharp in its evaluations. We are really proud of the work done and the ranking of the hundred will be the basis for choosing the Golden Boy 2023.

The method of election, in fact, changes: there will no longer be the progressive cuts that thinned the group to 20 candidates that the jury would vote for, but all of the one hundred will remain in contention, until one month before the election. At that point, there will be the single cut and the top twenty, plus five wild cards, will make it to the final. At that point our famous panel of fifty international journalists will come into play, and they will assign their preferences, building the final ranking for the 2023 Golden Boy award.

It will be a wonderful journey and the Golden Boy Index will be a great companion, allowing for all kinds of analysis and evaluation based on a rigorous method and a ranking that will be constantly updated, so that the race for the Golden Boy 2023 will be exciting from today.