- Mohamed Salah wins PFA Player of the Year award after hitting 31 Premier League goals to date this season
- The Liverpool forward beat early favourite Kevin De Bruyne to the award which is voted for by fellow players
- Salah becomes the seventh Liverpool player to win the award but the first ever Egyptian to lift the trophy
Mohammed Salas spectacular season received the ultimate recognition on Sunday night when he was named as the Professional Footballers’ Association Players’ Player of the Year.The Liverpool forward edged the vote ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne after scoring 41 goals in his first year at Anfield. Leroy Sane’s exceptional season with Manchester City saw him clinch the Young Player of the Year award. Salah became the seventh Liverpool player to win the award and the first since Luis Suarez in 2014.
The 25-year-old is favourite to win the Golden Boot and could also add the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award to his haul, but his immediate priority is the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against his old club Roma on Tuesday.
Salah studies the trophy after being voted by his fellow Premier League players as this season’s top-performing star
The former Chelsea and Roma player becomes the seventh Liverpool star to win the award and the first ever from Egypt
Salah poses with his award alongside England manager Gareth Southgate (left) and PFA chairman Ben Purkiss on Sunday.
Speaking on the stage, he said: ‘It’s an honour to be the Player of the Year for the Premier League, especially as it’s voted for by the players.’
‘I think from day first I left the Premier League, it was always in my mind that I wanted success here. I didn’t get the chance at Chelsea so I was clear in my mind that I would return. I think I left and then I came back as a different person, a different man and a different player.’
Asked about the upcoming clash with his former club Roma, he said: ‘It’s very special to play for a club like Liverpool in a semi-final and you can see the atmosphere in Anfield is great. It’s also great that it is against Roma as I still have many good friends, we still talk to each other.
‘Everything is possible. We take it game-by-game and we will do our very best to win the Champions League.’
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking in a prerecorded message, said: ‘It is really rare in football that you win as an individual, an individual trophy, because it is a team game.
‘But in this, the team lives from personalities, from characters, from players and I am really happy that I had the opportunity to be your manager in the last year.
‘I think this award, you are voted for from all the other players in all the leagues in England, is an unbelievable honour so you can be really proud and your family can be really proud.
‘On behalf of the LFC family, again, congratulations. It was a fantastic ride so far, but you know we have still a few yards to go. With the best wishes for your future here at LFC, [from] your manager.
‘And now, please grab the trophy and come home – we play on Tuesday! See you then.’
After scoring in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at West Brom, Salah equalled the record Suarez shares with Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo for 31 goals in a 38-game Premier League season.
And the Egyptian wants to make that feat his own and better their tallies in Liverpool’s remaining three games.
He said: ‘To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over the world. I want to break this record and also break the one for (42-game season). Let’s see what will happen.’
Jurgen Klopp sent a message to his star player, saying: ‘Please grab the trophy and come home – we play on Tuesday!’
Salah walks down the red carpet at the PFA Awards night at the Grosvenor House Hotel with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson
The Egyptian was in high spirits as he arrived to receive the prestigious award and raised a smile as he walked into the venue
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is presented with the PFA Player Of The Year Award during the ceremony in London on Sunday
Fulham’s Tom Cairney arrives for the 2018 PFA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel with girlfriend Abbie Richards
Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon arrives for the 2018 PFA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel with his girlfriend on Sunday night
Gary Lineker sent his message of congratulations before the official announcement and was forced to delete his tweet
Winners on the night
Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah
Young Player of the Year: Leroy Sane
Women’s Player of the Year: Fran Kirby
Women’s Young Player: Lareun Hemp
PFA Merit Award: Cyrille Regis
‘He was amazing in training, amazing in the pre-season games and he’s just continued that form throughout the season. He’s been fantastic, on and off the field.
I think we expected him to be good, but I think he’s gone above and beyond that really. He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and better with each game, more confident of course.
‘He’s always doing work behind the scenes, always in the gym doing little bits here and there and working on his shooting and stuff in training, always working hard on what he needs to do for the team first and foremost, but then his goal tally speaks for itself really.’
De Bruyne, who was heavy favourite to win the award for much of the season, predictably finished second while Tottenham striker Harry Kane was named in third place.
Cyrille Regis’s contribution to the game was recognised with a posthumous Merit award. The ex-West Brom striker died of a heart attack in January aged 59 and his death led to an avalanche of tributes.
His goalscoring prowess helped Coventry win the FA Cup in 1987, but he is perhaps best known now as a pioneer for black players at a time when racist attitudes were common in British football and society.
Among the host of Football League players attending the awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London was Fulham teen sensation Ryan Sessagnon, who was nominated for the Young Player of the Year awards.