Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard paid tribute to the people who had helped him become 2009 Footballer of the Year - and declared the best was still to come.
The England midfielder, who turns 29 on Saturday, was honoured at a gala dinner in London on Friday night by the Football Writers' Association after he topped the poll of journalists ahead of Manchester United duo Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to win the prestigious accolade.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be here and share this evening with so many familiar faces whom have been with me throughout my career," Gerrard said.
The England international scored 24 goals, 16 of which came in the Barclays Premier League as he led the Reds' challenge to eventual champions United.
Although Liverpool were unable to sustain their title drive, Gerrard pledged to continuing working towards making the Anfield club the best around once more.
"But I would not be standing here without my family, my wife and a few close friends are here, and I have to say a big thank you to them," added Gerrard.
"Also my club manager, Rafael Benitez, who has a lot of belief in me. He has pushed me further forwards into a role I am absolutely loving at the moment - every time I go out, I feel so confident.
"It is great to be here to receive an individual award, but without my team-mates, I would not be able to be here. They have been fantastic this season and I am proud to be the captain of such a great team.
"Although this is an individual award, I would much rather be in a London hotel now preparing with my team-mates for the FA Cup final. Now, however, I believe we are moving forwards and are capable of challenging for major honours."
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