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.”
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
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
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.”
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
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.”
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!”
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.
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