Suarez wins PFA top award
Published 27/04/2014 | 21:17
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was rewarded for a remarkable season by landing the Professional Footballers' Association's Player of the Year award on Sunday night.
Just a year ago the Uruguay international was starting a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic but fast-forward 12 months and the 27-year-old deservedly came out on top in a poll of his peers.
Suarez travelled down to the ceremony at Grosvenor House in London after the Reds' 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea earlier in the day, which dented their title hopes.
Chelsea's Eden Hazard, absent for the game at Anfield due to injury, was named winner of the Young Player of the Year award.
Suarez was the overwhelming favourite for the top award after enjoying arguably the best season of his career.
He has scored 30 league goals in 31 appearances, including two trebles and four goals in a devastating performance against Norwich in December.
What has made his feat more remarkable is the fact he was suspended for five matches at the start of the season as his ban for biting Ivanovic carried over into this campaign.
Suarez said: "The Premier League is full of really great players and so it is a great honour when these players recognise your work on the pitch. I always try my best for the team and it is nice to get awards but really this is for my team-mates and the staff at Liverpool because without their help I wouldn't have this prize."
The South American has put behind him a troublesome year which saw him agitating for a move in the summer, even at one stage claiming manager Brendan Rodgers had reneged on a deal to allow him to leave for a Champions League club.
Rodgers' handling of the situation has been impressive but the Reds boss insisted all of the credit should be with the player.
"He is a brilliant talent. I think the supporters have seen him mature over the course of the last season," Rodgers said of Suarez on Friday.
"I think he was in a real low moment after that game (against Chelsea last year) but he has gone away and probably looked in the mirror and reflected on himself because he is not that type of guy and it probably just spilled over.
"He is a really intelligent man who fits the values of this club, which is all about humility, class and he has all of that.
"He is a sheer winner and that probably overspilled last year but his development over the last year has been remarkable both on and off the field and Liverpool have benefited from that.
"For me he is the consistently outstanding player over the course of the last year."
Suarez was one of three Liverpool players named in the Premier League team of the year, along with Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
Chelsea also had three players included, Petr Cech and Gary Cahill joining Hazard, while Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure were Manchester City's two representatives.
Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw and Everton's Seamus Coleman made up the team.
Hazard, 23, said of his individual prize: "It's always good to win awards because it means you've had a good season, but I prefer to win things collectively and I must say thank you to all my Chelsea team-mates, the staff and the fans."