Zalewski wins prestigious Golden Boy Award for being Europe’s brightest under-21 football talent
A Polish footballer has been awarded the prestigious Golden Boy Award for being Europe’s brightest under-21 football talent.
Nicola Zalewski who is a fullback for AS Roma and has been selected for the Polish national team, picked up the honour after winning an online public vote with almost 1.3 million individual votes cast in his favour.
The 20-year-old received a record number of votes with a staggering 49.9 percentage share, putting him ahead of second placed Eduardo Camavinga from Real Madrid and third placed Antonio Silva from Benfica.
Organised by Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport, the Golden Boy Web competition has been organised annually since 2003.
The event is split into two awards, one decided by a jury of sport’s journalists, the other by online users.
The first was won by Gavi from FC Barcelona, and the second by Zalewski.
Tuttosport wrote about Zalewski: “He is one of the heroes of last season when AS Roma won the Europa Conference League.”
Speaking to Sky Sports at the awards ceremony, Zalewski said: “It’s a unique emotion to be here, this is an unforgettable day for me. The second half of last season proved to be special, I worked hard to get here and this year I have to confirm myself.”
Zalewski also thanked AS Roma’s head coach Jose Mourinho, who he described as being a “like a second father to me”, adding: “I want to thank Mourinho for what he does for the entire team and me…We feel at ease with him and I always try to do the best for this team.”
Zalewski, made his professional debut for AS Roma in May 2021 in their Europa League semi-final against Manchester United and also debuted for the Polish National Team in September 2021 in the team’s World Cup Qualifier against San Marino.
Born and brought-up in Italy to Polish parents, he began his youth football career at Roma and was first selected for the youth selections of the Polish national team in 2017 after he was discovered by Zbigniew Boniek, Head of the Polish Football Association and himself a former Roma Player.