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Mohamed Salah has been crowned the PFA Player of the Year after an explosive first season at Liverpool .
Few could have foreseen the Egyptian magician’s impact after he swapped Roma for Anfield last summer in a £34.3million deal.
It has certainly proven money well spent and Salah’s exceptional performances have brought recognition from his peers in his first season back in English football.
The 25-year-old was named Player of the Year at the 45th PFA Awards at Grosvenor House in central London on Sunday evening, having seen off tough competition from Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
The pair have been the standout players of a memorable campaign, with the Belgium international playing an integral role as Pep Guardiola’s swashbuckling side won the Premier League in style.
Leroy Sane – crowned PFA Young Player of the Year on Sunday – and David Silva were the other City players on the six-man shortlist, with outstanding Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and free-scoring Tottenham striker Harry Kane completing the nominees.
But it is Salah that has come out on top after one of the greatest debut campaigns in Liverpool’s history.
"I feel great about that," Salah said on the reception of his award. "You know I work hard and I’m very happy to win it.
"The team helped me a lot, the way we play, they help me, they pass the ball to me a lot, so the team helped me a lot honestly, to perform and be in that shape.
"Of course, the way we play is (credit) to the manager and the team, also the players pass the ball to me all the time and they always try to find me to give me the ball. The way we play is very nice for me."
Luis Suarez was the last Reds player to win the award in 2014 and he too could do the double by winning the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
The voting for that accolade is still open and the victor is named on May 1 – the day before the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Salah’s former club Roma.
A telling impact in Tuesday’s first leg at Anfield may see him tip the scales and wrap up another award as a season to cherish comes to a close.
Salah’s performances have captivated and enthralled Liverpool fans this term – and left Chelsea ruing what could have been.
Sane’s exceptional season with Manchester City has earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Guardiola’s side have thrilled onlookers with their Premier League displays this term, adding the title to their Carabao Cup triumph with five games to spare.
City players made up half of the shortlist for Young Player of the Year award, with vastly-improved Raheem Sterling, summer signing Ederson and exciting forward Sane making the cut.
The latter was announced as winner at the 45th PFA Awards on Sunday at Grosvenor House in central London after a season in which the Germany international has been in scorching form.
Signed from Schalke two years ago for an initial £37million, the 22-year-old hit the ground running and was also shortlisted for last season’s Young Player of the Year award.
Sane has kicked on again under the tutelage of Guardiola, scoring 13 goals in all competitions heading into the weekend in a campaign to cherish.
Meanwhile, Chelsea Ladies striker Fran Kirby’s excellent form has been recognised by her peers as she won the vote for the Professional Footballers’ Association Women’s Player of the Year.
The 24-year-old has been an inspiration for the swashbuckling Blues this year, and had netted 22 goals in all competitions heading into this weekend to help the west Londoners run amok.
Bristol City Women’s Lauren Hemp was named winner of the Women’s Young Player of the Year prize.
Cyrille Regis’ contribution to the game has been recognised with a posthumous Merit award from the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The former West Brom and Coventry striker died of a heart attack in January aged just 59 and his death prompted an avalanche of tributes.
His goalscoring prowess earned him five England caps, and helped Coventry win the FA Cup in 1987, but Regis is perhaps best known now as a pioneer for black players at a time when racist attitudes were common in British football and society.
Speaking to Press Association Sport, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "He was a great footballer, a true gentleman and a role model and mentor for black players.
"You could tell how much he meant to people from the reaction to his death and we just felt it was right to honour him and his family in this way.
"Football has come a long way in terms of equality on the pitch – it is a very cosmopolitan game now – but we know we have more to do off the pitch and you only have to look at the newspapers with stories about Stephen Lawrence and Windrush migrants to see how relevant Cyrille’s story still is.
"I think it was Ian Wright who described Cyrille as football’s Martin Luther King and there is no doubt that he made a huge contribution to making football more diverse."
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