Manchester City trio Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Lauren Hemp take home the Men's PFA Players' Player of the Year, and both PFA Young Player of the Year trophies at the 2021 PFA Awards, with Chelsea's Fran Kirby winning Women's PFA Players' Player of the Year. The winners for each prestigious award are chosen by PFA members, who vote on their outstanding performers of the season.
2020 winner and Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne retains the Men's PFA Players' Player of the Year trophy, following another exceptional season with Manchester City. Winning the main award in two consecutive seasons is a feat only previously achieved by five-times Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and French World Cup winner Thierry Henry. De Bruyne thinks this is particularly special, as it was voted for by his fellow players.
He said, "The fact that players chose me for this award means that I've done really well. You want to win all the trophies with the team, and this is probably the most important one as an inpidual trophy in the league. To be voted by your competitors, by players who you compete with every game – to choose you, that says a lot. They're the people in my view who know the most about the game. When you have these things, you can show your kids and say, 'Look! This is what Daddy did when he was younger.'"
Chelsea's Fran Kirby pipped her teammates Sam Kerr and Ann-Katrin Berger to the post to take home the Women's PFA Player's Player of the Year. This is the second time Chelsea's all time leading goal scorer has received the honour, after winning the same trophy in 2018. Adding Kirby's name to an elite list of two-time winners including Kevin De Bruyne, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucy Bronze, Gareth Bale, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Mark Hughes.
Fran said she was 'humbled' by the win, adding, "First and foremost, my teammates are amazing, and I would never have won any of the awards or trophies that I have without them, but to win this is really special. I think what we've achieved has been incredible, so I'm really proud to be a part of this team. Hopefully, I will be able to come back into the same kind of position I came into last year, because I've been playing like I love the game again and like I enjoy it, and that's when you get the best out of me."
In his first PFA Award win, double nominee Phil Foden paid tribute to the teammates who gave him the opportunity to shine in an 'incredible season'.
He said, "I'm really honoured. There have been some great players in the past that have won it, and I feel really lucky because there have been so many great young talents this year. I'm feeling really happy to win it and it's a special moment. I would like to thank my parents, all of the coaches and the players as well, because without them creating chances for me, I wouldn't score and maybe I wouldn't win the awards. Without them, it wouldn't have been possible."
Manchester City's Lauren Hemp becomes the first woman to win three PFA Awards, taking home a record third trophy for Women's PFA Young Player of the Year Award. An incredible season also saw Lauren receive a double nomination from her fellow players, who also put her in the running for Women's PFA Player of the Year.
As the first person to win three PFA awards in the same category, Lauren said, "It feels pretty special to be picked amongst fellow professionals who I play against each week. It's really nice, and to me, it's one of the best accolades I can win - it's a real honour. I'm really proud of the team and hopefully, next season, we can win the league and push further in the Champions League, because I'm here to win trophies and I know all my teammates would love to do the same. I've been fortunate enough to have many excellent coaches throughout my journey, and I just hope to keep on improving because I know I'm not the finished product and I know I can only just keep getting better."
Outgoing PFA CEO, Gordon Taylor OBE, received the 2021 PFA Merit Award for his outstanding contribution to football and his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of footballers.
Sir Alex Ferguson presented the award to Gordon, saying, "It's my great pleasure to present Gordon this beautiful trophy for fantastic service. I would like to thank him for all the help he gave me in my time at United and even back in my days at Scotland when Gordon first started."
This has been the second virtual PFA Awards, and players have shown incredible resilience throughout the last 16 months. In what has been the strangest time for football, we commend all players for their commitment and send a well-deserved congratulations to all this winners from everyone at the PFA.