Monday, April 28, 2014

Suárez wins PFA Player of the Year, Hazard Young Player of the Year

Luis Suárez has been named the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year for 2013-14, becoming the first non-European to win the award, after an excellent season for Liverpool.

Suárez beat his club-mates Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge to the prize having scored 30 goals in the Premier League so far, including two hat-tricks and four in one match, propelling Liverpool to their best campaign in recent years and within striking distance of a first title since 1990.

The Uruguayan was at the PFA ceremony in London, despite his side having lost to Chelsea at Anfield earlier on Sunday in a result that severely dented their title hopes with Manchester City winning at Crystal Palace. Liverpool have two matches remaining and lead City, who have a game in hand, by three points but with an inferior goal difference.

Suárez was voted in by members of the PFA ahead of Chelsea's Eden Hazard in second and City's Yaya Touré in third. All the nominees for the individual top award were named in the team of the year.

Suárez, having been booed at the PFA awards last year following his bite on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, an indiscretion that resulted in a 10-match suspension, has endured a turbulent year, having attempted to leave Anfield last summer.

However, after being convinced to stay at the club and resist the overtures from Arsenal last summer by Brendan Rodgers, the 27-year-old forward has had a campaign to remember and received the award from Roy Hodgson, the England manager.

An emotional Suárez dedicated the prize to his family and team-mates, insisting that Liverpool could still win the title this year. "The Premier League is full of really great players and so it is a great honour when these players recognise your work on the pitch," he said. "I always try my best for the team and it is nice to get awards but really this is for my team-mates and the staff at Liverpool because without their help I wouldn't have this prize. This is for my team-mates and staff and for my wife and children."

On Friday, Rodgers said of Suárez: "He is a really intelligent man who fits the values of this club, which is all about humility, class and he has all of that. He is a sheer winner and that probably overspilled last year but his development over the last year has been remarkable both on and off the field and Liverpool have benefited from that. For me he is the consistently outstanding player over the course of the last year."

Hazard was named young player of the year ahead of Sturridge and Southampton's teenage full-back Luke Shaw in second and third respectively. The 23-year-old Hazard has scored 14 goals in his second season for Chelsea and has produced some fine attacking performances under José Mourinho. The Belgian declared that he hoped to return from an injury for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Atlético Madrid.

He said: "It's always good to win awards because it means you've had a good season, but I prefer to win things collectively and I must say thank you to all my Chelsea team-mates, the staff and the fans."

It was the first time since 1990 that no Manchester United player featured in the PFA Team of the year.

The 22-year-old Liverpool Ladies defender Lucy Bronze was awarded the PFA women's player of the year after helping her team lift the Women's Super League championship last season. Her team-mate Martha Harris won the women's young player of the year title.

PFA player of the year

1) Luis Suárez
2) Eden Hazard
3) Yaya Touré

PFA Young Player of the Year

1) Eden Hazard
2) Daniel Sturridge
3) Luke Shaw

PFA Team of the Year:

Cech (Chelsea); Shaw (Southampton), Cahill (Chelsea), Kompany (Man City), Coleman (Everton); Touré (Man City), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hazard (Chelsea), Lallana (Southampton); Suárez (Liverpool), Sturridge (Liverpool)

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