Joao Felix beats Jadon Sancho, Kai Havertz and Erling Haaland to 2019 Golden Boy award

Joao Felix

Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix has won the Golden Boy award for 2019, beating Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland to the prestigious prize. 

Felix's phenomenal rise was recognised by 40 journalists from across Europe, with the Portuguese following in the footsteps of previous winners Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. 

Nominees for this year's award, which is given to a player under the age of 21 plying his trade in the top flight of a European nation, included Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho, Red Bull Salzburg striker Haaland, Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz. 

But it was Felix who came out on top based on his performances for both Atletico and former club Benfica. 

The forward was one of the breakout stars of the 2018/19 campaign, scoring 20 times for Benfica in 43 appearances in all competitions, and helping the Lisbon-based outfit win the Primeira Liga title ahead of Porto and Sporting CP.

His exploits at the Estadio da Luz saw Felix linked with a host of European giants in the summee, but it was Atletico who won the race for his signature. 

The Spanish side paid £113m for the Portuguese's services, the second largest sum ever spent on a teenager. 

"Thanks to Tuttosport for the Golden Boy Award 2019, I am very proud," Felix told the Italian publication, which presents the prize. 

"It is the second time that a player from Atletico Madrid [Sergio Aguero claimed the prize in 2007] has won this award and I am happy. Thanks also to Benfica, in particular to coach Bruno Lage for all he has done for me and my family that is always close to me."

Sancho was named as runner-up ahead of Havertz in third, fourth-placed Haaland and last year's winner De Ligt, who finished fifth this time around.

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