Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina believes Steven Gerrard has been the best player in the world this season and admits the team are not the same without their captain.
Gerrard was named the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year on Wednesday and Reina said there was no-one more deserving.
"I am happy with it. It's fully deserved - and not just in terms of England, but for the whole world," he said.
He added: "This season he has been superb - our best player, the best player in England and the best player in the world.
"Liverpool are a different team without him. We have to play and compete as a whole squad but he is key for us."
Many thought Gerrard should have also won the Professional Footballers' Association's award last month but that went to Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs, who was second in the FWA poll with team-mate Wayne Rooney third.
Reina said the media had got it right in selecting form over sentiment.
"To be honest, when it got out that Ryan Giggs had been given Player of the Year by the PFA, well it was fair because he's played for a long time, but for me Stevie was the one," Reina told liverpoolfc.tv.
"But the media have given the right award - it's fully deserved."
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