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Alaba named Austrian Player of the Year

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Alaba named Austrian Player of the Year

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:00 pm

At the age of just 19, Bayern midfielder David Alaba has won the prestigious vote for Austrian Player of the Year. In the poll organised by APA (Austrian press agency) among the coaches of the ten Austrian Bundesliga clubs, Alaba finished top on 21 points, just ahead of Austria Vienna's Dutch star Nacer Barazite (20 points) and Stuttgart's Martin Harnik (13).

"This is a huge honour for me. I'm totally surprised, because I was never expecting this," commented Alaba, who follows in the footsteps of prominent previous winners including Herbert Prohaska, Toni Polster and record-holder Ivica Vastic. Alaba is also the youngest player to win the award since its inception in 1984. "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me, and my family, my friends and God," Alaba told APA.

"This is a wonderful accolade for a young, exceptionally talented player. I'm thrilled for David! He's the kind of player who seeks to improve every day in training. This award will motivate him to take the next step in his career," remarked FCB boss Jupp Heynckes, who has already handed the youngster 22 appearances (three goals) this season.

"I'm continually trying to develop, and I set myself minor, short-term goals," said Alaba, "ideally, I'd rather play in central midfield than defensively or on the left." The Austrian Player of the Year award represents the highlight in Alaba's brief but explosive career to date. He is the youngest player ever to represent Bayern in the Bundesliga and Champions League, and the youngest full Austrian international of all time. This term, he has firmly established himself in Munich, where he was a member of the 2010 double winning squad.

Rapid ascent

"I think it's a very good choice. David has turned in some magnificent performances for the Austrian national team over the last year, including twice against Germany. He's also come on extremely well at Bayern, and we think he has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. David will see this award as extra motivation for the next stage in his career," commented Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"His development is continuous and upwards, and he'll be a huge asset to us in the future," said Admira Wacker boss Dietmar Kühbauer, one of three coaches who placed Alaba top in the poll. Mattersburg supremo Franz Lederer cited "the fact he's not just a squad player, he's actively involved with a top team at such a young age," as the reason for placing the Vienna-born starlet top of his list.

Dream of Champions League glory

"David is my friend. I'm utterly delighted for him. It's unbelievable: he's Austrian Player of the Year at just 19. David is a classy player with a magnificent mentality. He listens hard, and he's always up for it. We fit well together. I'm certain he has a massive career ahead of him," declared Alaba's Bayern team-mate Franck Ribéry.

David swiftly returned the compliment: "I still can't quite believe I spend every day working with such world-class players. It's incredibly good fun, and I'm learning a lot every day," said the man capped 16 times by his country. "But I'm still a long way off where I want to be, and I have a very long way to go." And his career dream? "I want to win the Champions League at some point," he declared.
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