Egypt and Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah was crowned African player of the year for 2017 on Thursday in a ceremony in Accra, beating off competitors Sadio Mane of Senegal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon.
The 25-year-old attacker is the second-ever Egyptian to win the prestigious award, following Egypt and Ahly icon Mahmoud El-Khatib in 1983. El-Khatib is currently chairman of the Red Devils.
"It is an honor to be nominated and to be between these two great players tonight. Winning this award is a dream come true. 2017 was an unbelievable year for me. I had unbelievable moments leading Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 28 years. I had wonderful moments at Roma and Liverpool," Salah said after receiving the award.
"I want to thank my family and all my teammates who supported me. I want to dedicate this award to all the kids in Africa and Egypt and tell them never stop dreaming and never stop believing," he concluded.
Salah – who also won the BBC African player of the year and Arab player of the year – was rewarded for his performance in 2017 in achieving a lot of successes on the club and country levels.
The Liverpool winger became a national hero after leading the Pharaohs to the final of the 2017 African Cup of Nations after a seven-year drought, as well as realising Egypt's long-held dream of reaching the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Salah scored a stoppage time penalty against Congo 2-1 last October to secure Egypt's passage to World Cup in Russia ahead of Uganda and Ghana.
At Roma, he finished the season as second scorer of his the team with 15 goals and the Serie A best assist maker with 13 assists.
Switching to Liverpool for an African and club record of €42million, he proved to be worth every penny.
Salah bagged 23 goals in 29 games in all competitions before the new year, shattering previous records of several Liverpool's legends, including Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler and Kenny Dalglish, and equaled the record set by Roger Hunt in 1961.
The Pharaohs have been rewarded for their brilliant year as coach Hector Cuper won the coach of the year award and Egypt won the National team of the Year award.
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