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Salah beats De Bruyne by less than 20 votes in tightest Footballer of the Year race for 49 years

The PFA Player of the Year is now also the FWA Footballer of the Year.

Salah: sensational.
Salah: sensational.
Image: Peter Byrne

LIVERPOOL SUPERSTAR MO Salah added the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award to his PFA prize this morning, beating Manchester City rival Kevin de Bruyne again in what was the tightest vote since 1969.

Unsurprisingly, Salah and De Bruyne shared over 90% of the votes as the 400-plus FWA members overwhelmingly endorsed the two outstanding players of the Premier League season.

In the end, less than 20 votes separated the two as Salah became the first African winner in the history of the award which has been running since 1948.

“It’s been the tightest call since 1968/69, when there was a dead heat between Tony Book of Manchester City and Derby’s Dave Mackay,” FWA chairman Patrick Barclay said.

“Right up to the last week or so we thought it might happen again, so strong was the support for Kevin de Bruyne, but Mo Salah’s relentless match-winning form, exemplified by his two great goals against Roma, seems to have swung the vote by a very narrow margin.”

With both Salah and De Bruyne miles ahead of the rest, only eight other players received votes from FWA members.

Tottenham’s Harry Kane finished third in the voting while the following players, in alphabetical order, all featured on at least one ballot paper: Sergio Aguero (Man City), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Nick Pope (Burnley), David Silva (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Man City) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).

Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby won the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award.

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Niall Kelly

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