Kopa Trophy: The top 10 Under-21 players of 2023

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 30 Oct 2023 20:23 GMT
  • 4 min read
Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid, 2023/24
© ProShots

Jude Bellingham has won the 2023 Kopa Trophy, beating former England youth team-mate Jamal Musiala to the award.

The England international scored 14 goals and provided seven assists in his final season at Borussia Dortmund.

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His form for the Bundesliga giants attracted serious transfer interest from Europe’s biggest clubs and he joined Real Madrid for €103 million this summer.

READ MORE: Who won Ballon d’Or 2023? Shortlist, favourites, latest odds, date and past winners

Bellingham is the first English player in history to win the award, making history after a stellar campaign at Borussia Dortmund.

Jamal Musiala finished second in the 2023 Kopa Trophy, narrowly losing out to the new Real Madrid star.

The Germany international scored 16 goals and provided 16 assists in all competitions during the 2022-23 season and he also netted the goal that sealed Bayern yet another Bundesliga title in May.

READ MORE: The Ballon d’Or Top 30 IN FULL

Pedri finished third. The 2021 Kopa Trophy winner endured an injury-hit campaign at Barcelona, but he still made 26 appearances and scored six league goals as they won La Liga.

In fourth place was Real Madrid's Eduardo Camavinga. The France star played a starring role for Los Blancos last year and although they were unable to win La Liga or the Champions League, Camavinga established himself as one of Europe’s best youngsters.

Gavi, Barcelona
© ProShots - Gavi, Barcelona

Last year's winner Gavi came fifth. The reigning champion of this award helped Barcelona win the 2022-23 La Liga title last season as he established himself as one of Xavi’s most important players.

Xavi Simons finished sixth after he broke onto the world stage last season with a hugely impressive loan spell at PSV Eindhoven. He scored 22 goals and laid on 12 assists, which convinced PSG to re-sign him this summer before loaning him out to RB Leipzig.

Alejandro Balde (seventh), Antonio Silva (eighth), Rasmus Hojlund (ninth) and Elye Wahi (10th) completed the top 10.

The Kopa Trophy top 10

1. Jude BellinghamReal Madrid
2. Jamal MusialaBayern Munich
3. PedriBarcelona
4. Eduardo CamavingaReal Madrid
5. GaviBarcelona
6. Xavi SimonsPSG/RB Leipzig
7. Alejandro BaldeBarcelona
8. Antonio SilvaBenfica
9. Rasmus HojlundMan Utd
10. Elye WahiRC Lens

What is the Kopa Trophy?

The Kopa Trophy is an award that recognises the best-performing player under the age of 21, and was first introduced in 2018. The award is voted for by former Ballon d'Or winners.

The award is named after Raymond Kopa, a French footballing legend that won three European Cup titles with Real Madrid and won the Ballon d'Or in 1958.

Just like the Ballon d'Or, the Kopa Trophy was cancelled in 2020 so it has only been given out five times, with a different winner on each occasion.

Kylian Mbappe won the inaugural award after helping France to win the World Cup in 2018, before Matthijs de Ligt claimed the prize in 2019 on the back of Ajax's outstanding Champions League campaign.

Pedri was successful in 2021 after a stellar year for Barcelona and Spain. His team-mate Gavi then won the award the following year after a stunning first season at Barcelona in 2021-22 that also saw him break into the Spain squad.

Bellingham is the current holder of the award after emerging victorious in 2023.

Past winners of the Kopa Trophy

2018Kylian Mbappe (France)
2019Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands)
2021Pedri (Spain)
2022Gavi (Spain)
2023Jude Bellingham (England)

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