Arsenal star Bukayo Saka will be hoping to get his hands on the award (Picture: Getty)
Many of the world’s best young footballers will be hoping to get their hands on the Ballon d’Or Kopa trophy, when the prestigious award is handed out later this year.
France Football has just revealed 2022’s 10-man shortlist, which features some of the globe’s best U21 players – who may be looking to emulate previous winners such as Kylian Mbappe.
Here is everything you need to know about the Kopa trophy, and who is in the running.
What is the Kopa trophy?
The Kopa trophy is an award given to the best performing footballer under the age of 21.
The award is organised by the famous France Football magazine, which is also behind the Ballon d’Or – a prestigious award for the year’s top performing player from any country.
Pedri, 2021’s Kopa winner, with the coveted award (Picture: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
The winner of the Kopa trophy is selected by former winners of the Ballon d’Or, and both awards are given out at the annual France Football ceremony in Paris at the same time.
The Kopa trophy is open to U21 players from right across the world – unlike another trophy called the Golden Boy award, which is given to the best U21 footballer in Europe by Italian paper Tuttosport.
The name Kopa was chosen for legendary former France midfielder Raymond Kopa, who won the 1958 Ballon d’Or and was named one of the greatest 125 Living Players at the FIFA Awards Ceremony in 2004.
Who has been nominated for this year’s Kopa trophy?
Included in the 10-strong shortlist are players from the top leagues in England, Spain, Germany and France.
Arsenal star Bukayo Saka is the only Premier League player to have made the list, after his stellar 2021-22 season saw him notch up 12 goals and seven assists.
Jude Bellingham has had a stellar year for Borussia Dortmund – and is on the shortlist (Picture: Getty)
Fellow Englishman Jude Bellingham has also made the cut after some sublime performances in midfield for German side Borussia Dortmund.
Bellingham’s teammate Karim Adeyemi has also been nominated, after the German striker’s 23 goals last season for Salzburg earned him a big money move to the Bundesliga.
Leipzig’s Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol, who has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City, has been nominated alongside Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch and Jamal Musiala.
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz makes the list, after the German star hit ten goals and 14 assists before rupturing his cruciate ligament in March.
PSG’s all-action left back Nuno Mendes has been nominated for the Kopa trophy, with the line-up completed with La Liga pair Gavi and Eduardo Camavinga.
This year’s nominees will be hoping to emulate previous winner Kylian Mbappe (Picture: Baptiste Fernandez)
Who won the Kopa trophy last year?
Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedro ‘Pedri’ Gonzalez Lopez won the Kopa trophy in 2021, making him the third winner of the award since it was first introduced back in 2018.
PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe won the first instalment of the Kopa trophy, after his performances helped France become world champions at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Dutch centre-back Matthijs De Ligt, who has recently joined German champions Bayern Munich, won the award in 2019 when he played for Juventus.
The Kopa trophy was not awarded in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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