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Who is the best young talent in world soccer under the age of 21?

Best young talent world soccer

Plenty of players are part of the conversation for best young talent in world soccer. Part of the beauty of the sport is that players can break onto the scene at a young age.

Take someone like Kylian Mbappé. The Frenchman established himself as a European talent with Monaco in the UEFA Champions League in 2016/17. As an 18-year-old, he helped Monaco to the semifinals of the competition. In total, he scored six goals in Monaco’s six knockout games that season.

Fast forward to the present, and Mbappé is 23. While he is still a young talent with seemingly unlimited potential, there are other young talents in the world fighting for the Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best player under the age of 21. Mbappé was the inaugural winner of the award in 2018.

With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the twilight of their dominant and extensive careers at the top of the game, world soccer seeks its next great player.

Who is the best young talent in world soccer under the age of 21?

We want to know your thoughts on the best young talent in the world.

Looking at the 2021 Kopa Trophy, Barcelona midfielder Pedri, Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Bayern’s breakout star Jamal Musiala would all be sensible picks.

The reason 21 is the cutoff is because of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. Come the beginning of the 2022/23 season, both players will be at least 22 years old. Therefore, they will, by all accounts, be entering their prime. In this discussion, we want to hear about potential for some of the game’s brightest stars.

Admittedly, as a Barcelona fan, looking at players like Ansu Fati, Pedri and Gavi make me biased towards my answer. However, there is such a strong contingent of young talent out there. In England, there are the likes of Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga or Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott. Germany is a breeding ground for talent, with American international Gio Reyna and Englishman Jude Bellingham teaming up for Borussia Dortmund. Even Florian Wirtz from Bayer Leverkusen, who had 24 goal contributions in 31 games, just turned 19.

Fact of the matter is, there are a lot of options to choose from when considering the best talent in world soccer under the age of 21.


  • Pedri: Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
  • Bellingham: Lars Baron/Getty Images
  • Wirtz: Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images
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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mercator

    June 8, 2022 at 11:25 am

    Bukayo Saka. Kills me to mention an English player, but Saka is the real deal. He led Arsenal’s campaign this year, nearly getting a CL spot. He played all 38 games and was the club’s top scorer. He plays regularly for England and despite his age was handed the most responsibility in the PKs. They didn’t pan out and yet Saka didn’t let it get to him and continued to perform for his club. Of all the U21s, he is doing the most right now and has been for the last 18 months. Pedri would be my second pick.

    I also have to throw out Vini Jr, who is not under 21 but is absolutely disrespected and after this year should be mentioned along with Haaland and Mbappe. He is the real deal and the guy is going to end up like Benzema just banging them in for Real over a decade. He plays for Brazil too, so while he already has notched a CL, he has a real shot at winning a World Cup and frankly may be or should be the real leader of Brazil’s team since Neymar is…Neymar.

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