South Korean Lee Kang-in is the sole Asian player to make te shortlist for Fifa’s Golden Boy award for the best under-21 player in Europe.
The 18-year-old, who was promoted to the South Korean national side, plays for Valencia in Italy.
The award was initially established by the Italian publication Tuttosport in 2003. It is voted on by journalists across Europe.
Previous winners of the Fifa Golden Boy award include the likes of Lionel Messi, Raheem Sterling and Kylian Mbappe.
Juventus and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, who won the award last year, has been nominated again.
Kang-in may not be a household name as many of the other nominees, but has been going great guns recently for his country.
He made his first team debut last year in Valencia’s 2–1 win over CD Ebro in the Copa del Rey, becoming the youngest Korean footballer to debut professionally in Europe.
Kang-in made his La Liga debut in January this year, coming in as a substitutein their 1–1 draw with Real Valladolid.
At 17 years, 10 months, and 24 days, the Korean youngster became the second youngest player in the 18–19 La Liga after Ander Barrenetxea from Real Sociedad who debuted at the age of 16 years, 11 months, and 24 days.
Kang-in, who made his senior debut for South Korea in September, scored his first goal for Valencia in their 3-3 draw with Getafe last month.
Kang-in had joined Valencia’s football academy in 2011.
He represented South Korea at the Under-20 World Cup, where he was awarded the Golden Ball for best player. He led his team to a historic runner-up finish in the tournament, scoring two goals and four assists in seven games.
The attacking midfielder hails from Incheon and is the youngest of three children. His father Lee Woon-seong is a taekwondo instructor.
Kang-in is in the company of a hugely talented field of nominees that includes the likes of Joaa Felix (Athletico Madrid), de Ligt (Juventus), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid) and Ansu Fati (Barcelona).
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
Erling Haaland (Red Bull Salzburg)
Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Dejan Joveljic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Moise Kean (Everton)
Lee Kang-in (Valencia)
Andriy Lunin (Valladolid)
Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven)
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Ferran Torres (Valencia)
Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma)