Zlatan rewarded for impressive season
Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain dominated French football's annual awards on Sunday with Zlatan Ibrahimovic named the division's best player for the second successive season.
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With a league-leading 25 goals to his name, and having broken the club record for the most goals in a single campaign, Ibrahimovic, 32, unsurprisingly came out on top of the poll organised by the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP).
"It's a great honour to receive it for the second season running. I want to thank all the players, the staff, the club and the supporters. It's been the best season of my career. We have had a magnificent season. I hope we'll do better and I'll be in the same place next season," Ibrahimovic told guests at the gala dinner just outside Paris.
"I think it's possible to do better in the Champions League in particular, where we were knocked out by the smallest details. Next year, the team will have more experience and will be capable of making the dream come true."
Just as at the FIFA awards in January, Ibrahimovic also received the prize for Ligue 1's best goal -- his remarkable backheel volley against Bastia in October -- while teammates Salvatore Sirigu and Marco Verratti won the Best Goalkeeper and Young Player of the Year awards respectively.
After stepping up to claim his award, Verratti reflected on how far he has come since moving to the Parc des Princes as a relative unknown following his estimated eight million euro move from Pescara in July 2012 when he was unveiled on the same day as Ibrahimovic.
"I have to thank the club who took a real gamble in buying me so young," said the Italy international, 21, who joined Ibrahimovic, Sirigu and three other PSG players, Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta and Edinson Cavani, in the French top flight's Team of the Year.
"Winning individual trophies isn't my objective. I prefer to win trophies with my club. If I must dedicate it to someone, it's to my son, because I can't dedicate him a goal because I don't score any."
Despite guiding his team to the Ligue 1 title with a record points tally, which could yet be improved in Saturday's final game of the season at home to Montpellier, the Coupe de la Ligue and the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Laurent Blanc was overlooked for the Coach of the Year award, which went to Lille's Rene Girard.