Virgil van Dijk and Vivianne Miedema win PFA Player of the Year awards
Last updated on .From the section Football
Dutch duo Virgil van Dijk and Vivianne Miedema have won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year awards for 2018-19.
Liverpool defender Van Dijk, 27, beat Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Eden Hazard in the vote by his fellow players.
Arsenal forward Miedema, 22, beat Steph Houghton, Nikita Parris, Keira Walsh, Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-yun.
Manchester City forward Sterling won the men's Young Player of the Year.
City also provided winners for two other awards, with England forward Georgia Stanway claiming the women's young player prize and England captain Houghton receiving the PFA Special Achievement award.
Van Dijk succeeds Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah, who won in 2017-18, and is the first defender to take the award since Chelsea centre-back John Terry in 2004-05.
Miedema, who helped Arsenal clinch their first Women's Super League title since 2012 earlier on Sunday, follows Chelsea and England striker Fran Kirby.
The rock at the heart of Liverpool's title challenge
Van Dijk has been one of the key players in Liverpool's ongoing title challenge this season, playing in every one of their Premier League fixtures.
Signed in January 2018 from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender of £75m, the Netherlands international has been a rock at the heart of the Reds' defence.
Liverpool have kept 19 clean sheets from their 36 league games this season, 28 of which they have won.
He has also contributed three goals and two assists during the campaign.
"It's the highest honour you can get as a player to get voted player of the year by the players you play against every week," said Van Dijk.
"It's special. I'm very proud and honoured to receive it."
Van Dijk could still end the season with a Premier League winner's medal with Liverpool trailing Manchester City by a single point with two matches remaining.
Chelsea playmaker Hazard, who won in 2014-15, was nominated alongside the City trio of Aguero, Silva and Sterling, and Van Dijk's Liverpool team-mate Mane.
The free-scoring forward behind Arsenal's title win
Netherlands international Miedema is the top scorer in the WSL this season, netting 22 goals and providing 10 assists in her 19 appearances.
In all competitions this season, the prolific striker has scored 39 goals in 46 appearances.
The former Bayern Munich player hit the opener as Arsenal secured the WSL title with a 4-0 win at Brighton's Amex Stadium, in front of a new league-record crowd.
"I'm obviously really proud to represent my team here, we've had an amazing year, especially with winning the league," she said.
"I'm just really happy I could help my team all season long with scoring goals and it means a lot."
Miedema, who was also nominated for the women's young player award, is the first Arsenal player to win the senior prize since team-mate Kim Little claimed the inaugural award in 2013.
This summer, she will hope to propel the Dutch to success at the Women's World Cup in France, as they look to build on their triumph at Euro 2017.
Miedema was the only Arsenal player nominated, seeing off City trio Houghton, Parris and Walsh and Chelsea pair Cuthbert and Ji.
Sterling goes close to senior prize but wins young player award instead
Many believed it was a two-horse race between Van Dijk and Sterling for the men's Player of the Year award.
Instead Sterling, 24, takes the young player prize, beating City team-mate Silva, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.
He succeeds City team-mate Leroy Sane in winning the award.
England international Sterling has enjoyed another extremely effective season for reigning champions Manchester City, scoring 17 league goals and providing 10 assists.
He could end the season with a domestic treble of winner's medals, having already won the Carabao Cup with City, who lead the title race and face Watford in the FA Cup final on 18 May.
Sterling has also received recognition for his stance against racism in football this season, having criticised newspapers' portrayal of black players and calling for stronger punishments for supporters who racially abuse players.
Van Dijk wins BBC readers' and pundits' votes
Van Dijk was also the pick of both the BBC Sport readers and pundits for player of the year.
The Dutchman received 56% of votes by BBC Sport readers, with Sterling in second place on 26%.
Tottenham forward Son Heung-min, who was not shortlisted for the PFA award, got 6% of votes in third.
Twenty-one pundits - Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Alex Scott, Paul Ince, Phil Neville, Jermaine Jenas, Rachel Brown-Finnis, Stephen Warnock, Chris Sutton, Pat Nevin, Danny Mills, Mark Lawrenson, Martin Keown, Danny Murphy, Chris Waddle, Leon Osman, Sue Smith, Joleon Lescott, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Upson and Kevin Kilbane - chose their top six performers of 2018-19.
Van Dijk and Sterling were their two outstanding candidates, with the former earning 14 votes to the latter's seven.
Both were selected in a PFA Premier League team of the year dominated by Liverpool and Manchester City players.
Van Dijk was joined by Reds team-mates Alexander-Arnold, Mane and Andrew Robertson, while Sterling has City colleagues Aguero, Silva, Ederson, Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte for company.
The only non-Liverpool or City player in the side is Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba - a selection that has been met with some criticism.
City women pick up other awards
Women's Young Player of the Year Stanway has scored 11 goals in the WSL this season.
She has the chance to win two domestic trophies this season, with City facing West Ham in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, having won the League Cup in February.
Stanway, who made her senior England debut last year, beat overall women's Player of the Year Miedema, team-mate Walsh, Chelsea midfielder Cuthbert, West Ham United forward Alisha Lehmann and Bristol City keeper Sophie Baggaley.
Special Achievement award winner Houghton, 31, is set to lead the Lionnesses at this summer's World Cup in France, having won 104 caps for her country to date.
Her husband, former Liverpool, Bradford and Bolton defender Stephen Darby, retired after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.
Houghton has said she would give up her World Cup place to care for him if necessary, although he has said he will not let her do that, while England boss Phil Neville has praised her response to the news.
Houghton was also named in in the PFA's Women's Super League Team of the Year alongside City team-mates Parris and Demi Stokes.
Chelsea provided three players - Ji, Cuthbert and Hannah Blundell - as did Arsenal, with Miedema, Little and Lia Walti selected.
Baggaley and Birmingham City defender Aoife Mannion make up the 11.
Still he must be good, he's in the PFA team of the year lol.
Over rated doesn't even start to describe him.
She got more coverage than Sterling in this article. Political correctness gone mad, pathetic!!!!!
When you look at last season, Liverpool where 25points behind us. At least he's made this season's prem a race.
As for the pfa team. There are arguments for and against for all positions, but can anyone give me a rational argument for pogba being in their. Never in my decades of watching the game have I ever seen such an over rated player.
The beeb actually use the women’s team as click bait
Is anyone offended by that?