Liverpool forward,25-year-old Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has been crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2017.
Salah was voted for by fans around the world, beat off competition from Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Guinean Naby Keita, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Nigeria’s Victor Moses to be named the continent’s greatest player.
Salah completed a club-record £36.9million move to Anfield in the summer, and has flown out of the blocks for the Merseyside giants, scoring 19 goals in his opening 24 appearances.
Salah said: “I am very happy to win this award.
“It’s always a special feeling when you win something. I feel like I had a great year, so I’m very happy.”
“I want to be the best Egyptian ever so I work hard,” added Salah, who is the third player from Egypt to win the award and first since 2008.
“I always follow my own way and I want everyone in Egypt to follow my way.
“I would like to thank my Liverpool team-mates and I also had a good season with Roma so I have to thank my team-mates there and my team-mates in the national team,”
Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer with 13 goals, has enjoyed a stellar year for both club and country.
“Since I came here, I wanted to work hard and show everyone my football. I wanted to come back to the Premier League since I left, so I am very happy.”
Salah has taken the Premier League by storm this season, in contrast to a less impressive spell in the division with Chelsea between 2014-15.
Final outcome of the vote
1 Mohamed Salah
2 Sadio Mane Pierre-
3 Emerick Aubameyang
4 Victor Moses
5 Naby Keita
“I am a really lucky person. I had the opportunity to work with a few outstanding players and I am happy that it is now with Mo.
“The good thing is that he is still young, there is a lot of space for improvement, a lot of potential still that we can work on, but that’s how it should be. It’s a big pleasure, to be honest, to work with him.”
Salah adds his name to a list of legends including Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) and Michael Essien (Ghana).
“I am very happy to be like them in winning this award,” said Salah, who follows compatriots Mohamed Barakat (2005) and Mohamed Aboutrika (2008) in receiving the trophy.
BBC Past Winners African Footballer of the year
2017:Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt )
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
2015: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2014: Yacine Brahimi (Porto & Algeria)
2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2012: Chris Katongo (Henan Construction & Zambia)
2011: Andre Ayew (Marseille & Ghana)
2010: Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)
2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)
2008: Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2007: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)
2006: Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)
2005: Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2004: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2003: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2002: El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)
2001: Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)
2000: Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)