Belgian international becomes the first Manchester City player to win accolade after outstanding season when he equalled Premier League assists record
Kevin De Bruyne has beaten four players from Premier League winners Liverpool to claim the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) Player of the Year award.
Fellow professionals voted for the Manchester City playmaker ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and last year’s winner Virgil van Dijk despite Liverpool finishing 18 points clear at the top.
De Bruyne, 29, also beat team-mate Raheem Sterling and becomes the first City player to win the award.
“It’s a huge honour,” he said. “To be voted for by your colleagues and competitors from other teams who you play against and then for you for best player is amazing.
“It’s strange that I’m the first one at City given all the good players that have played here before and who are still playing here but it’s nice to represent the club.
“I think it is [the ultimate honour to be nominated by fellow professionals] because you compete against them, they want to win the trophies, they want to be the best.
“When they vote for you, and it’s everyone who is voting not just a few players, that means you’ve done really well during the season.”
De Bruyne, who also won the Premier League Player of the Season award, matched Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s record for most assists in a campaign with 20.
He also created the most chances and had the most goal involvements of any player in the Premier League as well as scoring 13 goals.
Asked if it was his best campaign, he said: “I don’t know. I’ve been playing well, trying to be consistent with good performances.
“I don’t go too much up and down, this is something that happens especially at the beginning of your career.
“I’m a little bit older now. I’m used to what I can do and what I can’t do so I just think I’m helping my team to win games and if you do that then people will vote for you I guess.”
Despite winning the Premier League title four times in the past nine seasons, a City player has never won the award before, while Liverpool have had three winners in the past seven years.
“There have been many great players in this club’s history, especially over the last decade working with Roberto [Mancini], Manuel [Pellegrini] and myself. We have won many titles, but Kevin is the first to receive this prestigious award,” City boss Pep Guardiola added
“This recognition is also a tribute to all the fantastic players who have come before him.
“We are so proud of Kevin and this will only strengthen what he means to this club and our fans. From all the players, coaches and staff at Manchester City, I would like to congratulate him.”