Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been voted the 2018 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.
The Egypt international narrowly topped the poll of the 400-strong FWA membership ahead of Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, the margin understood to be less than 20 votes.
Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane was in third place.
Between them, Salah, signed by the Reds from Roma during the summer, and De Bruyne, who helped City claim the Premier League title with five games still remaining, collected more than 90 per cent of the journalists’ votes.
Salah, who struggled to make an impact during his first spell in England at Chelsea, has scored 43 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season.
The Egyptian has spearheaded Liverpool’s push towards a potential place in the Champions League
final – the Reds lead Roma 5-2 ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final second leg in Italy.
OFFICIAL - Mo Salah is Footballer of the Year. Full story here https://t.co/1LhiZCyvZX— The FWA (@theofficialfwa) May 1, 2018
The 25-year-old becomes the first African winner of the prestigious FWA accolade, which has been awarded since 1948.
Tuesday’s announcement sees Salah complete a personal double, having last month been named the 2017-18 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, finishing ahead of De Bruyne and Kane in the vote of their peers.
Salah will be presented with the 2018 FWA Footballer of the Year trophy at The Landmark London on May 10.
Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby was last week announced as the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year, which will be presented during the same gala dinner.
FWA chairman Patrick Barclay said: “It has been the tightest call since 1968/69, when there was a dead heat between Tony Book of Manchester City and Derby’s Dave Mackay.
“Right up to the last week or so we thought it might happen again, so strong was the support for Kevin De Bruyne, but Mo Salah’s relentless match-winning form, exemplified by his two great goals against Roma, seems to have swung the vote by a very narrow margin.
Unbelievable season for us. Very happy to call us champions this year pic.twitter.com/Ulvw5zQyaa— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) April 15, 2018
“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class, but Mo Salah is the worthiest of winners.”
Barclay added on the FWA website: “He is also the first African to receive the award and we congratulate him on a magnificent season.”
Other players to receive votes from FWA members were, in alphabetical order: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Nick Pope (Burnley), David Silva (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).
:: More information and a list of past FWA Footballer of the Year winners can be found at www.footballwriters.co.uk