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Repeat honour

Alaba retains Austrian Player of the Year award

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Bayern starlet David Alaba has been named Austrian Player of the Year for 2012, the second time in succession that the 20-year-old has won the prestigious award. In the annual poll conducted by news agency APA among the 10 Austrian top-flight head coaches, the FCB utility man finished comfortably ahead of Schalke's Christian Fuchs and Austria Vienna striker Philipp Hosiner.

“This is a very great honour for me," commented Alaba at the end of an eventful year, “there have been plenty of highs, but also lows, such as being suspended for the Champions League final, and especially my injury. I give thanks to God for giving me the strength to come back. I've learned a lot from this year in every respect."

Chorus of praise

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels the 20-year-old is on the brink of “a glittering career. He's simply a great lad, and he's been a tremendously appealing figure at Bayern for some time now." Franck Ribéry was equally fulsome in his praise: “In my opinion, Alaba is one of the biggest talents in European football. I really enjoy combining with him on the left flank for Bayern." Philipp Lahm described Alaba as “a huge talent with unbelievable footballing intelligence. And he's a really nice lad in private."

Alaba joined the Bayern junior team youth section from Austria Vienna in 2008. He made his Bundesliga debut in March 2010, and shortly afterwards played in the Champions League for the first time while still 17. The youngster spent the second half of the 2010/11 campaign on loan to Hoffenheim, but he returned to Munich last season and became a regular at left-back. He was named Austrian Player of the Year for the first time in December 2011.

Comfortable victory

He has now retained the award with a score of 41 out of a possible 50 points. The 20-year-old, who missed the early part of the current campaign after sustaining a stress fracture in pre-season, finished 25 points ahead of Austria captain Fuchs. David is only the fifth player to win the national Player of the Year award more than once since its inception in 1984. “He'll definitely become one of the greats," predicted Bastian Schweinsteiger.