Arsenal linked striker pips former Spurs star to prestigious national award

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic has been named Croatian Player of the Year for 2013.

The 27-year-old striker enjoyed a prolific 2013, netting bags of goals as well as winning an unprecedented treble consisting of the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions league.

Following Bayern Munich’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend – a game in which Mandzukic opened the scoring – the prolific striker was named Croatian Player of the Year, receiving the award in front of his own supporters at the Allianz Arena.

Despite former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric also impressing during 2013, Mandzukic’s accomplishments meant there could only be one winner.

Reported by the Bayern Munich official website, the Bayern Munich striker spoke of his delight at receiving the award from Croatia’s biggest sporting newspaper, Vecernji Iist.

He said: “It’s a great honour for me.”

“I’m very proud about the award and it’s a great endorsement of all my hard work.”

The trophy was Mario Mandzukic’s second award in as many years, and with his quality and drive to succeed, you wouldn’t back against him winning it again next year.

Despite his excellent form for Bayern Munich during 2013, under Pep Guardiola the Croatian international has been used more sparingly.

As a result of Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski’s prearranged agreement to join the German champions this summer, much has been speculated over Mandzukic’s future – with a possible move to Arsenal reported by The Metro.

Franz Beckenbauer said as much during the January transfer window, suggesting that Pep Guardiola also has the likes of Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze in reserve should he wish to sell him.

Arsene Wenger has tracked Mario Mandzukic since his days at Dinamo Zagreb, and if he becomes available this summer, it is an opportunity the Frenchman must grab with both hands.

Was Mario Mandzukic the best striker in Europe during 2013?

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