Soccer-Man City's De Bruyne wins PFA Player of the Year award for second time

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Everton - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 23, 2021 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell

(Reuters) - Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne was named the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year for a second consecutive season on Sunday after the Belgian led his side to the Premier League title.

De Bruyne scored six goals and provided a club-high 12 assists as City wrapped up a third league title in four seasons, while they also lifted the League Cup and reached the Champions League final.

The 29-year-old is only the third player to win back-to-back awards after former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It's crazy. You talk about two legends in the game - one of the best strikers ever (Henry) and one of the top two players in the world (Ronaldo), so to do the same thing as them is crazy," De Bruyne said.

"I really enjoy playing in this team. I signed a new contract knowing the playing style. I'm really happy here.

"We compete for every trophy and that suits my competitive nature. The team has been unbelievable and push me to my best level every day."

Belgium international De Bruyne was also named in the PFA Team of the Year announced on Friday. He was the only player to retain his place from the 2019-20 team.

De Bruyne's City team mate Phil Foden picked up the Young Player of the Year Award after a season in which he was also named the Premier League's best young player.

Foden made 28 league appearances for City, finishing with nine goals and five assists, to earn a spot in England's European Championship squad.

"I'm really honoured," Foden, 21, said. "There's been some great players in the past who have won it. I feel really lucky to win because there are some great young talents this season."

Chelsea forward Fran Kirby won the women's award for a second time, beating team mates Sam Kerr and Ann-Katrin Berger.

City's 20-year-old forward Lauren Hemp won the women's PFA Young Player of the Year award for the third time.

"I can't believe I've been awarded this accolade for a third time. It feels so special to be successful from an incredible shortlist," she said. "For me, this is one of the best awards to win as it’s chosen by my fellow professionals."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith and Ken Ferris)

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