The PFA Players' Player of the Year, or Professional Footballers' Association Men's Players' Player of the Year, is awarded annually to the best player in a season in English football.
The PFA Players' Player of the Year is one of the awards given out by the Professional Footballers' Association, besides the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Merit Award, PFA Team of the Year and PFA Fans’ Player of the Year.
The PFA Players’ Player of the Year winner is selected by a vote by the members of the players' trade union (PFA), which comprises around 5,000 professional footballers.
There have been 42 different winners of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.
Who was the first PFA Players’ Player of the Year award winner?
Norman Hunter won the inaugural PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 1973-74. The former Leeds United defender, regarded as one of the best centre backs in the country back in the 1960s and 70s, helped his team win the championship with just five defeats in the entire campaign.
The PFA Women's Players' Player of the Year award started in the 2012-13 season. Former Arsenal midfielder Kim Little was the first recipient. The Scottish international scored 11 goals in 14 games and won the Women’s FA Cup and FA Women’s League Cup with the Gunners.
Who has won the most PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards?
Seven players have won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award twice.
The first player to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice was Mark Hughes, who claimed the honour in the 1988-89 and 1990-91 campaigns while representing Manchester United.
His feat would be later matched by Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah.
Meanwhile, Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby have won the most PFA Women’s Player’s Player of the Year awards with two to their name.
PFA Players’ Player of the Year award winners
1974 – Norman Hunter (Leeds United)
1975 – Colin Todd (Derby County)
1976 – Pat Jennings (Tottenham Hotspur)
1977 – Andy Gray (Aston Villa)
1978 – Peter Shilton (Nottingham Forest)
1979 – Liam Brady (Arsenal)
1980 – Terry McDermott (Liverpool)
1981 – John Wark (Ipswich Town)
1982 – Kevin Keegan (Southampton)
1983 – Kenny Dalglish (Liverpool)
1984 – Ian Rush (Liverpool)
1985 – Peter Reid (Everton)
1986 – Gary Lineker (Everton)
1987 – Clive Allen (Tottenham)
1988 – John Barnes (Liverpool)
1989 – Mark Hughes (Manchester United)
1990 – David Platt (Aston Villa)
1991 – Mark Hughes (Manchester United)
1992 – Gary Pallister (Manchester United)
1993 – Paul McGrath (Aston Villa)
1994 – Eric Cantona (Manchester United)
1995 – Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)
1996 – Les Ferdinand (Newcastle United)
1997 – Alan Shearer (Newcastle United)
1998 – Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
1999 – David Ginola (Tottenham Hotspur)
2000 – Roy Keane (Manchester United)
2001 – Teddy Sheringham (Manchester United)
2002 – Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
2003 – Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
2004 – Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
2005 – John Terry (Chelsea)
2006 – Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
2007 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
2008 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
2009 – Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
2010 – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
2011 – Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
2012 – Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
2013 – Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)
2014 – Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
2015 – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
2016 – Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
2017 – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
2018 – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
2019 – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
2020 – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
2022 - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year winners
2012 – Kim Little (Arsenal)
2013 – Lucy Bronze (Liverpool)
2014 – Ji So-yun (Chelsea)
2015 – Izzy Christiansen Manchester City
2016 – Lucy Bronze Manchester City
2017 – Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
2018 – Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal)
2019 – Bethany England (Chelsea)
2020 – Fran Kirby (Chelsea)
2022 - Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
Author: William Paul
Featured photo: AFP / JOHN STILLWELL