Tactical Insights

Lamine Yamal leading the race to Golden Boy 2024

The race is on for Golden Boy 2024. On Wednesday at the Cucinelli Theatre in Solomeo (Italy), the announcement was made of the 100 players short-listed for the annual prize for the best footballer of less than 21 years of age. Top of the table so far is Lamine Yamal, who doesn’t turn 17 until July, but there are three other Barça players in the running too.

Pau Cubarsí (8), Gavi (20) and Vitor Roque (50) make Barça the joint most represented club, the other being Brighton & Hove Albion.

The winners won’t be announced until 4 December 2024 at a gala in Turin, but between now and then the list of candidates will be cut smaller and smaller. The players are ranked in accordance with an algorithm, although journalists’ votes will also enter the equation towards the end of the procedure.

Bojan Krkic discusses La Masía

The presentation ceremony was attended by FC Barcelona’s director responsible for youth football, Joan Soler, who participated in a panel discussion on three different topics. One of those was the methodology used at La Masia, which also featured Bojan Krkic, who came fourth in Golden Boy 2008.


The man who is now the coordinator of youth football at Barça described how the club’s famous ‘football factory’ works, saying that “as a club we put a lot of faith in our young players. Of course, they can’t all reach the elite, but all the players we sign know they do have a chance of making it into the senior team.”

“Being at the Ciutat Esportiva is very important for the player’s progression. For example, Lamine Yamal lives at La Masia. The situation at the club right now has meant that a lot of young players have been getting to play for the first team, but although they are very young, they are very ready. As well as Lamine, we have Cubarsí, Guiu and Fort, for example. But although they are working with the senior team, they are still studying. That’s important for us. They need to continue getting an education as well as developing on a personal level.”

“Everything is evolving. Data helps in many ways, but a lot of decisions in youth football are still made with the eyes. We still have to watch how they play … The way we understand football is all about having fun playing. And we also teach the players about our values as a club because we think that’s very important.”

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