Salah, Ronaldo, Bale, Gerrard: MOTD pundits rank top 10 PFA Players’ Player of the Year winners

  • Rob Swan
Micah Richards and Alan Shearer rank the 10 best PFA Players’ Player of the Year winners

Micah Richards and Alan Shearer have ranked the 10 best PFA Players’ Player of the Year award winners of the Premier League era.

Speaking on the latest episode of BBC Sounds’ Match of the Day Top 10 podcast, the retired footballers-turned-pundits were asked to rank the following players: Kevin De Bruyne, Eric Cantona, Gareth Bale, Alan Shearer, Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.

Not an easy task, right? All of the players are – or were – outstanding in their own right and deserving winners of the aforementioned individual award, which is voted for by all Premier League players.

Just missing out on a place on the shortlist were the likes of John Terry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Virgil van Dijk.

Shearer and Richards both came up with different top 10s, with host Gary Lineker having the deciding say for the overall winner.

Alan Shearer’s Top 10 PFA Players’ Player of the Year award winners

10. Gareth Bale

“The first season he won it, in 2011, he only got seven goals and one assist. He really struggled when he first went to Spurs – they could hardly win!

“His career’s been unbelievable, hasn’t it? To see where he started to where he got to, to what he achieved in the biggest competition, the Champions League, at Real Madrid – it’s ridiculous.

“For his relationship to have faded away with Real Madrid fans is not good. Whether he has that love for football anymore, I don’t know.”

Gareth Bale, Tottenham 2011
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 20: Gareth Bale of Spurs in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 20, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

9. Luis Suarez

“That season [2013-14] was a ridiculous season.”

8. Wayne Rooney

“It was the 2010 season, wasn’t it? 26 goals and only three assists, which I’m surprised at considering the player he was.”

7. Mohamed Salah

Salah, Liverpool, 2018
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 04: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 4, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

6. Eric Cantona

“Cantona that year, 1993-94, Premier League and scoring two in the FA Cup final. 34 appearances, 18 goals, 12 assists that year – he was a huge part in what United did.

“He was annoyingly arrogant but when you have his ability you can be. He was brilliant, absolutely fantastic.”

5. Steven Gerrard

“He dragged Liverpool to that FA Cup [in 2006]. He loved that football club so much.”

4. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne, Man City, 2021
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates with the Premier League Trophy as Manchester City are presented with the Trophy as they win the league following the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on May 23, 2021 in Manchester, England. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums as Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in the UK. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

3. Alan Shearer

“I had a bit of a bad season the second time, I only got 25 goals!

“We had a great system at Blackburn that suited me tremendously at Blackburn.”

2. Thierry Henry

“Have you seen his numbers? 37 games, 24 goals, 20 assists the first time he won the award [in 2002-03].

“The second time he won it, 37 games, 30 goals, six assists. Fantastic. That was back-to-back.”

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

“Just because of who and what he is and everything else that’s gone on since his time at Man United.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd 2008
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – MARCH 19: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford on March 19, 2008 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Micah Richards’ Top 10 PFA Players’ Player of the Year award winners

10. Gareth Bale

“We were just starting to see how good he was. Forget all the messing around, trying to do skills and all that, kick it and run. ‘I’m faster, I’m stronger, got more endurance than everyone’. But the list is tough!

“I played against him when he was at Southampton and ate him for lunch!

“Then he went to Spurs and he had me for lunch!”

9. Steven Gerrard

“He was too good and should have won so much more during his career. So unlucky.”

8. Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona, Man Utd, 1994
23 APR 1994: A PICTURE SHOWING ERIC CANTONA OF MANCHESTER UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB AS HE RUNS OFF WITH HIS ARM RAISED IN CELEBRATION AFTER SCORING THE FIRST GOAL IN HIS FIRST GAME AFTER HIS SUSPENSION AGAINST MANCESTER CITY IN THEIR PREMIER LEAGUE MATCH Mandatory Credit: Anton Want/ALLSPORT

7. Wayne Rooney

“He’s top but other players did better in their seasons. Nothing personal, Wayne!”

6. Kevin De Bruyne

“When he’s on song, he’s the best midfielder. I know Bernardo [Silva]’s done very well this season but De Bruyne, when he’s fit, is by far the best.”

5. Luis Suarez

“For that season when he scored 31 goals in 33 appearances.”

Luis Suarez liverpool 2014
CARDIFF, WALES – MARCH 22: Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Liverpool at Cardiff City Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

4. Mohamed Salah

“I just knew [he was going to be great] because he was always in the right position to score goals. He could dribble, he was fast, but he would just score 10 goals in training and you can’t get nowhere near him. He’s a great fella. It’s imperative that Liverpool get him to sign a new contract.”

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Alan Shearer

“You got 12 assists!”

Asked by Shearer why that surprised him, Richards said: “You just shoot and you’re greedy! Were those assists shots?”

He added: “34 goals and 12 assists, that was staggering. That’s ridiculous!”

Alan Shearer Blackburn 1995
14 MAY 1995: BLACKBURN ROVERS STRIKER ALAN SHEARER CELEBRATES AFTER HIS TEAM CLINCHED THE LEAGUE TITLE AFTER THE GAME AGAINST LIVERPOOL.

1. Thierry Henry

Lineker had the final say and went for Henry as the overall winner because Richards had the Arsenal legend first and Shearer had him second.

The Frenchman is regarded by many as the greatest player in Premier League history, so we can’t imagine there will be too many complaints with that decision.

Thierry Henry with his PFA Players' Player of the Year trophy
LONDON – APRIL 25: Thierry Henry of Arsenal poses with the PFA Players Player Of The Year Award at the PFA Awards Dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel on April 25, 2004 in London. (Photo by John Stillwell-Pool/Getty Images)

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