What is the Kopa Trophy? Birmingham City favourite joins Mbappe, de Ligt & more in lifting award

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What is the Kopa Trophy presented at the annual Ballon d’Or awards?

Birmingham City product Jude Bellingham made history on Monday night by becoming the first English player to win the Kopa Trophy at the 2023 Ballon d’Or Awards.

The 20-year-old scooped the trophy based on his form with Dortmund last season. Bellingham contributed 14 goals and seven assists across all competitions, and helped BVB secure a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga after a tight title race.

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Since then, the former Blue has signed for Real Madrid, where he’s taken his ability to the next level. Bellingham joined the Spanish giants during the summer transfer window, in a deal worth up to £115 million, which is a record signing for a British player. Since arriving at Madrid, the midfielder has notched 13 goals and three assists in just 13 matches across all competitions this season.

Bellingham has become the fifth player to win the Kopa Trophy since its introduction to the Ballon d’Or awards. Here is everything you need to know about the accolade.

What is the Kopa Trophy?

The Kopa Trophy is an award presented to the world’s best young male footballer of the year under the age of 21. The trophy made its debut to the Ballon d’Or awards in 2018, alongside the introduction of the Ballon d’Or Féminin. Bellingham came second in the 2021 Kopa Trophy rankings but has finally gotten his hands on the prize this year.

The Kopa Trophy is named after the late Raymond Kopa, a French forward who won the 1958 Ballon d’Or. Unlike the Golden Boy award — which has been running across Europe since 2003 — the Kopa Trophy is open to players outside of UEFA leagues.

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Who has won the Kopa Trophy?

Since the first Kopa Trophy was handed out in 2018, five different players have accepted the honour. Kylian Mbappé was the first ever player to receive the award, dominating the votes following France’s triumph at the World Cup in Russia.

The following year, Netherlands international Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Trophy ahead of Jadon Sancho and João Félix. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but returned in 2021 when Bellingham came second to Barcelona’s Pedri.

Barca extended their winning run into 2022 when Gavi beat Eduardo Camavinga to the top spot. Bellingham is now the fifth and latest holder of the Kopa Trophy, finishing ahead of Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and 2021 winner Pedri.

Here’s a full breakdown of the winners and runners-up of the Kopa Trophy since its debut year at the Ballon d’Or awards.

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