Set up in 1967, the Belgian Sportsman of the Year award is the most prestigious title in Belgian sports.
Never won by a footballer since its inception, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois was handed the title for the year of 2014. Coming off the back of a La Liga winning season with Atletico Madrid, the Blues stopper also reached the Champions League Final, played at the World Cup, and has cemented himself as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper - all by the age of 22-years-old.
Courtois beat Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard to the award - who finished in fifth - whilst former Blue Kevin De Bruyne finished in eight place.
Speaking after being handed the award, the stopper was quoted by the official Chelsea website as saying: “It's an honour to be the first footballer to win this award. But you have to have some luck too. If there'd been a cyclist who had won two classical races, I think I wouldn't have won the trophy.
“But I'm happy, I'm proud. Even more for my family, it's not always easy for them - I'm often away from home, disappointed after a loss or a difficult training session.
“I want to thank them, and all of my team-mates, managers and staff who helped me to achieve this. You never get used to winning prizes, but this season I want to achieve as much as possible with Chelsea. In the first place I want to win the Premier League.”
Courtois was not the only footballer to win an award on the night, with 19-year-old Liverpool forward Divock Origi being named Promising Talent of the Year following a breakout year with the Red Devils which saw him net his first international goal in the 1-0 victory over Russia at the World Cup. The youngster’s form in Brazil saw Liverpool sign him for a reported £10 million, before immediately loaning him back to former club Lille in the French Ligue 1, although he is currently suffering a period of endured drought in front of goal.
Quoted by HLN, Origi said his goal against Russia was the best moment of the year.
“My goal at the World Cup against Russia was my personal highlight of the year,” the youngster admitted.