Thank God it’s over. The month of January is a dramatic one for football around the world. Some players leave the only league they’ve ever known for an entirely new one; a new style of football than what they’re used to. Some players go back to the league in which they started that gave them their career. Some players enter a professional league for the first time. In just four weeks, the entire world of football can be turned upside down.
Italian sports daily, Tuttosport, announced Thibaut Courtois and Isco as two of the three finalists for its tenth annual Golden Boy award.
The Golden Boy award, which honors one active footballer in a first division European club under the age of 21, will be presented to one of three contenders which include Isco (Málaga CF), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), and Stephan Al Shaarawy (AC Milan).
Isco, who plays as an attacking midfielder for the Andalusian club, has been an instrumental part of the team’s success this season with 20 starts and five goals, two of which in the Champions League. The 20 year old was also named the La Liga Breakthrough Player of the Year 2012.
20-year-old Belgian international, Thibaut Courtois was loaned to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea in the summer of 2011 and has since become the first choice keeper for Los Colchoneros after the departure of David De Gea. This past August, Courtois faced off against his former club and walked away victorious as Atletico Madrid defeated Chelsea in a 4-1 win in the European Super Cup.
Nine La Liga players have been nominated to receive the prestigious Italian award that highlights young talent in Europe.
On Saturday, Italian newspaper, Tuttosport, released the list of the 40 official nominees for its tenth annual Golden Boy award, which honors the best under-21 player in Europe.
Each candidate must be an active in a first division European league and born after 1 January 1992. 30 journalists from the top sporting publications across continent, such as Le Équipe, Marca, A Bola, Bild, The Times, De Telegraaf, Mundo Deportivo, France Football, Sport Express, Blick and Ta Nea, will vote on the winner to be announced in December in Turin, Italy.
The nominees include Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona B), Isco (Málaga CF), Jesé (Real Madrid Castilla), Koke (Atletico Madrid) Samuele Longo (RCD Espanyol), Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Joel Campbell (Real Betis) and Raphael Varane (Real Madrid CF).
The winner will join the likes of past recipients such as Rafael van der Vaart, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Agüero, Anderson, Alexandre Pato, and Mario Balotelli.
German midfield Mario Götze, the 2011 Golden Boy award winner, has been nominated again this year for his work with Borussia Dortmund.
The full list of nominees can be found here.
This article was originally published on InsideSpanishFootball.com on Oct. 29, 2012.