Suarez named English PFA player of the year
Updated: 2014-04-29 09:02
Controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was named the English Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Uruguayan, who will lead his country at the World Cup in Brazil in June, has scored 30 goals and contributed 12 assists this season as Liverpool tops the Premier League standings with two matches remaining.
"The Premier League is full of really great players and so it is a great honor when these players recognize your work on the pitch," Suarez said.
He claimed the honor ahead of teammates Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge, as well as Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, Manchester City's Yaya Toure and Adam Lallana of Southampton.
The irrepressible Suarez, the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush in 1986-87 to score 30 league goals in a season, has helped the likes of fellow striker Sturridge flourish.
His personal haul has arrived despite missing the first five league games of the season as he served the remainder of a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last April.
That incident occurred just before Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale claimed last season's award, and the announcement of Suarez as part of the Premier League team of the year was met with rumblings of discontent.
Suarez tried to engineer a move to Arsenal in the offseason before returning to Liverpool with devastating effect, leading the Anfield club back into the Champions League and taking it to the brink of its first championship in 24 years.
He has tormented top-level defenders with his speed, guile and deadly finishing, and none of his 30 goals have come from the penalty spot.
"He's a remarkable player. His determination and his desire is at such a high level, and he gets his rewards," manager Brendan Rodgers said of Suarez after he scored a hat-trick against Cardiff City last month, his third of the season.
"He's a world-class player who is enjoying his football - and long may it continue."
Suarez was one of three Liverpool players named to the PFA team of the year, along with midfielder Gerrard and Sturridge.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, defender Gary Cahill and midfielder Hazard were also included on the squad, as well as Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany and midfielder Toure, Southampton leftback Luke Shaw and midfielder Lallana, and Everton rightback Seamus Coleman.
Hazard was named PFA young player of the year.
Luis Suarez reacts during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on Sunday. Andrew Yates / AFP
(China Daily 04/29/2014 page24)