Manchester City had a record NINE players who received votes in the Footballer of the Year award – more than Manchester United stars got in their Treble-winning season.
The Blues ‘ feats this season, in winning the title and the teamwork on which it is based, is reflected in the split of the vote, with four of the top ten being City players.
Members of the Football Writers’ Association were balloted for the award, which was won by defender Ruben Dias, only the fifth City player in history to win it.
He followed Fifties heroes Don Revie and Bert Trautmann, skipper of the great Sixties side Tony Book and modern-day star Raheem Sterling in lifting the individual trophy.
Dias polled just 21.5 per cent of the vote, but the main reason that is so low is that City’s all-round excellence meant eight of his teammates also got votes – and it was still enough to beat Tottenham’s Harry Kane in second place.
Kane, widely touted for a move to City this summer, finished second, with Kevin De Bruyne taking third place on 15 per cent ahead of Manchester United ace Bruno Fernandes.
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In fifth spot was Ilkay Gundogan, whose goals from midfield, as well as his usual intelligent and incisive link-up play, were a key feature of City’s remarkable surge of 21 consecutive wins which took them clear at the top of the Premier League and into the later stages of the Champions League. He received 7.9 percent of the vote
Phil Foden also made the top ten taking 4.3 percent of the poll to finish seventh.
But a remarkable FIVE more City players were also in the reckoning.
Joao Cancelo, who made a big success of being an inverted full back, creating and scoring goals from midfield during City’s hottest spell of the season, picked up votes.
Ederson, the goalkeeper with the booming pass, was also in the minds of some of the journalists who voted, as was Riyad Mahrez, whose performances – especially in the second half of the season – have made him an immovable member of Pep Guardiola’s strongest team.
John Stones caught the eye of some after seizing his moment in November and playing his way back into being first choice centre-back alongside Dias – and also making himself one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England squad list again.
The other City player to get at least one vote was Sergio Aguero, clearly a sentimental choice after making just eight starts in his final season with the club, wrecked by injury and fitness problems.