Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has been named German Footballer of the Year.
The 27-year-old enjoyed another successful year, winning the domestic double with Die Roten in Pep Guardiola’s final season in charge at the Allianz Arena before starring for Germany as they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Boateng said he was delighted to win by a landslide victory, becoming the first defender to claim the award, which is voted for by the nation’s sports journalists, since Dortmund centre-half Jurgen Kohler in 1997.
"I cannot describe what is going through my mind at the moment. I am naturally proud that I was able to achieve this," said Boateng, as reported by Deutsche Welle.
The honour is the culmination of an exceptional few years for the Berlin-born centre-back, winning four consecutive Bundesliga titles, three DFB Pokals, the Champions League in 2013 and the World Cup in Brazil a year later.
Boateng is also the favourite to be announced as the new Germany captain following the retirement of Bastian Schweinsteiger, with the 65-time capped defender recently admitting his desire to be given the armband.
However, his coronation as Germany’s greatest footballer will undoubtedly unnerve Manchester City fans, whose club sold Boateng to Bayern after just 16 Premier League appearances in an injury hit debut season in England.
Under new City manager and former Bayern boss Guardiola, Boateng became one of the finest centre-halves in world football, eventually evolving into something of a deep-lying playmaker, building attacks with his raking, crossfield diagonals.
Boateng was an essential component of the Guardiola gameplan and the Catalan will be hoping he can work similar miracles on new £47.5 million signing John Stones (below).