Austria’s “Footballer of the Year” is David Alaba for the tenth time. The captain of the ÖFB team and Real Madrid player, who suffered a cruciate ligament rupture last Sunday, came out on top with 53 points ahead of Konrad Laimer (FC Bayern/13), Christoph Baumgartner and Nicolas Seiwald (both RB Leipzig and 7 points each) in the poll conducted by the APA among the coaches of the twelve clubs in the Admiral Bundesliga.
It is Alaba’s fourth triumph in a row, and his ten Footballer of the Year awards make him the record holder ahead of Ivica Vastic (4) and Herbert Prohaska (3). In an interview with APA conducted before his injury, Alaba said: “This is a huge honor. Something that always makes me really proud and makes me very happy. Ten times, that’s something special again, and I’m incredibly grateful.”
This time, Alaba came out on top ahead of Bayern legionnaire and ÖFB teammate Laimer
The central defender emphasized that the Footballer of the Year award would not become a habit. “Not at all, quite the opposite. It’s very special every time. It also confirms what I like to do and what I like to work for.”
Alaba won the Spanish Cup with Real in 2023 and booked his ticket for Euro 2024 with the ÖFB team. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to take part. “I want to be successful on the pitch with my team, so I work hard for that, and the team’s success is above all else. It’s very nice when personal honors are added to that,” explained the 31-year-old.
“An absolute leader” at Real and in the ÖFB team
Like Alaba, the coaches also made statements before the ÖFB star’s serious injury. As one of ten coaches, Gerhard Struber, coach of Red Bull Salzburg, voted the Spain legionnaire in first place. “He is a fantastic footballer who continues to perform at the highest level and takes responsibility everywhere. He has a great influence at Real Madrid and is an absolute leader in the Austrian senior team.”
Christian Ilzer from Puntigamer Sturm Graz expressed similar sentiments: “He is a regular at Real Madrid, plays in the Champions League, and is captain of the Austrian national team, which qualified for the European Championship in Germany with great confidence.” LASK coach Thomas Sageder also gave Alaba high praise. “He performs at the highest level week in, week out at Real Madrid and is an absolute top performer and leading player there. The quality he brings to the table as a central defender is incredible, and he regularly demonstrates that at the club and in the Austrian national team.”
High praise from all sides
TSV Egger Glas Hartberg’s Markus Schopp described Alaba as a “difference-maker at the highest level with a winning mentality”, and Austria Klagenfurt’s Peter Pacult said of the 105-time International: “As a regular at a global club like Real Madrid and captain of the national team, he is the biggest figurehead of Austrian soccer.”
Coach Schmid of RZ Pellets Wolfsberg emphasized that Alaba “has been a leading player at absolutely top clubs for years and consistently delivers strong performances at club and national team level.” Austrias Michael Wimmer emphasized Alaba’s versatility, among other things, and Gerald Scheiblehner from Blau-Weiß Linz pointed out the personality of the Viennese, whom he described as an “absolute role model.”
According to WSG Tirol coach Thomas Silberberger, Alaba has been “one of the best defensive players in the world for years”. Austria Lustenau’s head of sport, Alexander Schneider, who voted before Andreas Heraf was appointed as the new head coach, stated: “He is a regular at Real Madrid and indispensable in the national team – the best footballer in Austria.”
- source/picture: orf.at
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