Football: Cristiano Ronaldo takes home both PFA awards

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Barclays Premiership gala awards dinner took place Sunday, with Manchester United being the winningest of clubs in the awards. The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) presents awards to players every year who have been voted on by their peers as the best player of the season.

The front runner for the senior PFA award has been United midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo, and players agreed as he was the top vote recipient. Didier Drogba finished second following his 31 goals for Chelsea. Third place fell to Ronaldo's fellow Red Devil Paul Scholes, who has helped lead United only one year after a serious eye injury which could have ended his career. Others in the running for the award were Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal, Ryan Giggs of Manchester United, and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool, who won the award last season.

In the young player PFA award Ronaldo again prevailed, as the 22 year old became only the second player in history to earn both awards in one year, the first being Andy Gray in 1977. Cesc Fabregas came second, while Aaron Lennon of Tottenham finished in third. Wayne Rooney, who won the award the previous two years, was nominated as well along with Micah Richards of Manchester City and Kevin Doyle of Reading.

The Premiership team of the year was also announced, with eight Manchester United players being named. Keeper Edwin Van Der Sar along with the entire back line all play for United. The back line is made up of Gary Neville at right back, Patrice Evra on the left, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as central defenders. Ronaldo was also on the team at right wing, with fellow PFA candidate Ryan Giggs on the left. The central midfielders where named as Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard. Didier Drogba was named in the team as striker, along with Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov, who has impressed greatly in his first year in the Premiership.

The special merit award was also directed to Manchester United, as manager Sir Alex Ferguson picked up the award.

Upon winning the double, Ronaldo exclaimed that "It is a special night. It is amazing and a big honour for me to win trophies like this in the English Premier League. I am very proud." And continued "My colleagues have voted for me and that is fantastic because the players know the qualities of players."

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson also commented on Ronaldo, saying "At this moment in time, I think he is the best player in the world and his season has been incredible."