Liverpool's effervescent winger Mohamed Salah was named player of the year by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) on Sunday, capping a remarkable season in which he broke several records.
Salah fended off competition from Manchester City trio Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva as well as Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea to win the prestigious award.
"It's an honour (to win the award), especially that it is voted by players. I'm very happy and proud to win it," Salah said following the ceremony.
"From the first day I left the Premier League it was always in mind that I will succeed here, that I will return and show everyone my football," he added, referring to his unsuccessful and brief stint at Chelsea in 2014.
"I think I left and I came back as a different person, different man, different player."
Salah is the first Egyptian and only the second African to clinch the prize after Algeria's Riyad Mahrez, who was rewarded for playing a key role in helping unfancied Leicester City cause a huge upset by winning the Premier League title in 2016.
He has taken the Premier League by storm since his summer arrival from AS Roma, stunning observers and becoming a darling of Anfield after a series of dazzling displays.
The 25-year-old, who was named Africa's best player of 2017, is the frontrunner to finish as the elite competition's top scorer after scoring an impressive 31 goals in 33 appearances, breaking an African record for a single season after bettering the 29-goal tally of Ivorian hitman Didier Drogba in 2009-10.
He was also the first one to be named the Premier League’s player of the month three times in one season.
On Saturday, Salah tied the Premier League record of most goals in a 38-game campaign, joining Alan Shearer (1995-96), Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08) and Luis Suarez (2013-14).
He also equalled Suarez's Liverpool record for most goals in a Premier League season.
The speedy winger has 41 goals to his name in all competitions, just six short of the record tally of Liverpool icon Ian Rush, which he set in the 1983-84 season.
"I'm really happy I had the opportunity to be your manager. This award is an unbelievable honour," said Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp.
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