London (AFP) – Kevin De Bruyne became just the third player to win the English Professional Footballers’ Association’s (PFA) player of the year for a second consecutive season on Sunday.
The Belgium midfielder follows in the footsteps of Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only other players to win the award in back-to-back years.
De Bruyne was vital to City’s third Premier League title in four years and a fourth consecutive League Cup triumph.
The 29-year-old also guided City to the club’s first ever Champions League final, where his presence was badly missed during the latter stages of a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend as he was forced off early in the second-half with two fractures to his face.
“You want to win all the trophies with the team and then obviously if you win a trophy like this, this is probably the most important one as an individual trophy in the league,” said De Bruyne.
“To be voted by your competitors who you compete with every game, that says a lot. They are the people, in my view, who know the most about the game and they are trying to get to the best level.
“When you have these things, you can show your kids and say, ‘Look, this is what daddy did when he was younger’.”
De Bruyne scored 10 goals and provided 18 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions for City this season.
He pipped club teammates Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan and Ruben Dias, who were named on a six-man shortlist alongside Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.
Dias was crowned the Football Writers’ Association player of the year last month.
Foden capped a superb campaign by being named PFA men’s young player of the year.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, West Ham’s Declan Rice and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood were all on the shortlist for the young player prize.
“I’m really honoured,” Foden said in a PFA video. “There have been some great players in the past that have won it and I feel really lucky to win it because there have been so many great young talents this year. It’s a special moment.”
Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby scooped the women’s accolade, having found the net 25 times in all competitions as the Blues retained the Women’s Super League title, won the League Cup and reached the Champions League final.
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