Mohamed Salah’s extraordinary debut season at Liverpool has been recognised with the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.
Salah received the accolade from his peers ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, a fitting reward for a campaign in which he has matched the feats of Liverpool’s goalscoring legends.
The Egyptian is the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score 40 goals in a season, and has also matched Luis Suarez’s record of 31 Premier League goals in a campaign. He may yet break Rush’s goal record of 47 in a season. He currently has 41 goals in just 46 appearance in all competitions.
“It’s a big honour. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday night. Asked what it meant to become the first Egyptian to win the award, he said: “Hopefully, I’m not the last one. I’m very proud to win.”
Since his £39 million move from Roma, Salah has been a major influence in Jurgen Klopp’s side reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, terrorising Premier League and European defences with his pace and exquisite finishing.
Not only did he fend off the challenge of De Bruyne, but also fellow shortlisted nominees David Silva, David de Gea and Harry Kane.
Salah is outscoring Messi and is on course to re-write the Premier League record books
Salah said his ambitions for this season were far from over. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world,” he said. “There are still three games to go. I want to break this record and also break the one for a 42-game season.”
Salah attended yesterday’s award ceremony with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, a request the Egyptian made as he wanted to share the honour with his team-mates. Manager Klopp did not attend because he is preparing for tomorrow’s Champions League semi-final first leg with Salah’s former club, Roma, but he asked the senior members of his scouting and recruitment team to accompany Salah as he collected the honour.
Sporting director Michael Edwards, chief scout Barry Hunter, head of scouting Dave Fallows and Liverpool’s Italian scout Paul Goldrick joined Salah at the Grosvenor House Hotel – Klopp delegating the credit for identifying the winger as the ideal addition to his squad last summer. Salah and Henderson remained in London on Sunday night prior to joining their team-mates for training this evening as preparations begin for Roma’s visit. Liverpool’s newest superstar is also a contender for the Football Writers’ award, announced on May 1.
Manchester City will be disappointed De Bruyne missed out, but consoled Leroy Sane was named the PFA Young Player of the Year.
German winger Sane, one of the most exciting young talents in Europe, has been consistently brilliant in assisting City’s title success.
Chelsea Ladies forward Fran Kirby won the women’s Player of the Year award, while Lauren Hemp, of Bristol City, secured the young player prize. The PFA’s Merit Award went posthumously to Cyrille Regis, the former West Bromwich Albion forward who died aged 59 in January. This was recognition of his role in changing attitudes towards black footballers.