Earlier this month, it was revealed that Jude Bellingham had won the 2023 Golden Boy award. The 20-year-old picked up the honour after an excellent season with Borussia Dortmund, and he has exceeded that form during his first few months at Real Madrid.
While many felt that Bellingham was a worthy winner, not everyone agreed. Notably, Barcelona icon Hristo Stoichkov told Tuttosport journalist Massimo Franchi (via Diario AS) that he felt others were more deserving of the award.
“No (he shouldn’t have won). “I don’t dispute his value. He’s one of the strongest talents in the world: he’s got a lot of class and a lot of brains. For me, he’s a mixture of Michael Laudrup, Kaka and Pogba. The future is his. The next Ballon d’Or will be played with him, Mbappe and Haaland, but I’d like to know what he won in 2023 between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Nothing…
“Given that Gavi, the reigning winner, was not eligible under the regulations I would have given it to (Jamal) Musiala or (Alejandro) Balde, who won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona.”
Ultimately, there’s a large chance that anyone at Real Madrid, and especially Bellingham, takes no notice of Stoichkov comments, because they will feel that the award was deserved. The Englishman will hope that he can add the Ballon d’Or in the future, and he’s going the right way about it so far.