Monday, April 25, 2016

mahrez wins EPL PFA Player of the season

Leciester City’s Algerian winger Riyad
Mahrez on Sunday became the first
African player to be named English
football’s Player of the Year, as voted
for by his fellow professionals.
The 25-year-old French-born Algerian
international, outstanding in
Leicester’s incredible charge towards
the Premier League title, received the
trophy at a lavish awards ceremony in
London.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele
Alli was named Young Player of the
Year at the Professional Footballers’
Association (PFA) awards.
Paying tribute to his team-mates,
Mahrez, who succeeds Chelsea’s Eden
Hazard as the winner of the prize, told
the ceremony: “All the credit is for
them, seriously.
“And for my manager (Claudio
Ranieri) and the staff. Without them I
wouldn’t receive this award and I
wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit,
and I want to dedicate it to them.
“I’m very grateful to receive this
award, it’s a pleasure. It’s extra special
because if the players vote for me it’s
because they’ve seen I’ve been great
this year so I’m happy.
“But it’s more team things. Without my
team-mates I wouldn’t get this award.”
Mahrez is the first African to win the
award and just the second non-
European, after Uruguayan striker
Luis Suarez, then of Liverpool, in
2014.
A £400,000 ($580,000, 514,000 euro)
signing from French Ligue 2 side Le
Havre in January 2014, Mahrez has
contributed 17 goals and 11 assists to
help put Leicester on the brink of
becoming English champions for the
first time.
He had scored the opener in the Foxes’
4-0 thrashing of Swansea City earlier
in the day at the King Power Stadium,
which left Claudio Ranieri’s side eight
points clear of second-placed
Tottenham with three games left to
play.
– Giggs award –
Mahrez was then flown by helicopter
to the ceremony as he pipped club
colleagues Jamie Vardy and N’Golo
Kante as well as West Ham United’s
Dimitri Payet, Tottenham’s Harry Kane
and Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil to the award.
Alli, 20, held off competition from
Kane, Stoke City goalkeeper Jack
Butland, Liverpool midfielder Philippe
Coutinho and Everton duo Romelu
Lukaku and Ross Barkley to take the
young player gong.
Alli, who won Football League Young
Player of the Year 12 months ago,
joined Tottenham from third-tier
Milton Keyes Dons in 2015 and was
expected to be used sparingly in his
first season at White Hart Lane.
However, he has been outstanding in
midfield for Spurs and has already
won six caps for England, scoring
once.
He was not there to pick up his award
in person as Tottenham play West
Bromwich Albion in the Premier
League on Monday, but recorded a
video message.
“Sorry I can’t be there tonight, but we
have a big game tomorrow. Thank you
for to everyone who voted for me,”
Alli said.
“I feel honoured to win such a
prestigious award and thank you to
my friends, family and all the staff at
Tottenham.”
Manchester United great Ryan Giggs,
now the assistant to manager Louis
van Gaal, followed in the footsteps of
his former manager Alex Ferguson by
winning the PFA Merit Award.
Manchester City midfielder Izzy
Christiansen won the PFA Women’s
Player of the Year award, with
Sunderland forward Beth Mead taking
home the young player equivalent.


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