Ranking Every Winner of the PFA Player of the Year Award
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The 2016-17 PFA Player of the Year award is set to be announced on Sunday. The shortlist of six is generally believed to be headed by two truly outstanding performers—N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard—but the buzz and speculation over who will be awarded the trophy refuses to die down.
In preparation for the announcement, Bleacher Report has cast its mind back to recall all of the previous winners from the Premier League era (1992-93 onward) and rank them according to how incredible their seasons were.
Team trophies play a small part, but this ranking generally focuses on the individual. How imperious were they? How much destruction did they weave en route to glory? Which PFA Player of the Year was the best of them all?
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24. David Ginola, Tottenham Hotspur (1998-99)
Under no circumstances has a PFA Player of the Year ever had a bad season, but while David Ginola played well in 1998-99, it is generally believed he won because the voting between Manchester United and Arsenal players was so incredibly split. In the year United won the treble, a Red Devils player probably should have won this award too.
23. Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur (2010-11)
Bale won his first Player of the Year among a weakened field. It’s arguable the tipping point was his frankly ridiculous performance against Maicon and Inter Milan at the San Siro, though given the PFA award is for achievements in English football, that shouldn’t have really factored in.
22. Ryan Giggs, Manchester United (2008-09)
Giggs played well this season, but there is a general acceptance that this was more of a lifetime-achievement award. One of the Premier League’s best and most consistent players for close to two decades had never won the honour, so that error was corrected.
21. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Manchester United (2001-02)
Van Nistelrooy’s first season in the Premier League was a belter. He netted 23 goals in 32 league games and set a domestic record for goals scored in consecutive games. That said, he was a slightly contentious pick, with Arsenal winning the league that season and both Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires sparkling.
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20. Les Ferdinand, Newcastle United (1995-96)
Ferdinand joined Newcastle United at the beginning of this season, costing £6 million from Queens Park Rangers. He plundered just shy of 30 goals as the Magpies looked to be heading for the title, but they were eventually beaten by Manchester United—and he was pipped to the top-scorer crown by Alan Shearer.
19. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United (2006-07)
The least remarkable of Ronaldo’s three golden seasons in English football but still quite the whirlwind ride. His transition from prospect to elite performer began moving through the gears here.
18. Eden Hazard, Chelsea (2014-15)
Chelsea had won the league by Christmas, with Eden Hazard the best player…