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Major honour for FCB man

Alaba is Austrian sports personality of the year

At the age of just 21, Bayern star David Alaba has been named Austrian Sports Personality of the Year for 2013. It is the first time in 16 years that the Alpine Republic’s most prestigious sporting accolade has been awarded to a footballer.

“It’s unbelievable and a huge honour for me. I’m thrilled and delighted,” said Alaba when the results of the annual vote were announced late on Thursday evening. The two-time Austrian Player of the Year could not be present in person at the glamorous ceremony in Vienna attended by 1,500 guests, including Alaba’s parents, but the 21-year-old appeared at the event by video link from the studios in Munich.

Congratulations from Ribéry and Guardiola

Franck Ribéry presented his team-mate with the trophy in the studio. “I’m delighted for David. He’s done really well in the last couple of years. I really enjoy playing with him,” said the European Player of the Year. Alaba himself struggled to put his emotions into words: “I’m really proud to win this award. I don’t know what to say. It’s just super!”

The following day, Pep Guardiola joined in the chorus of praise. “David deserves this award. He’s only 21, but every three days he plays at such a high level. He’s a gift to Bayern Munich,” commented the FCB coach. “He’s one of the best people I’ve met in my career. He’s a super-super-super guy!“

In the poll conducted among 950 members of the Austrian sports journalists association (Sports Media Austria), Alaba beat off stiff competition from holder and downhill skier Marcel Hirscher, ski jumper Gregor Schlierenzauer, golfer Bernd Wiesberger and race cyclist Riccardo Zoidl.