Mohamed Salah has been crowned BBC African Footballer of the Year following an exceptional year with AS Roma, Liverpool and the Egyptian national team.
The 25-year-old pipped team mate Sadio Mane as well as Victor Moses, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Naby Keita to the award, to become the third Egyptian player after Mohamed Barakat (2005) and Mohamed Aboutrika (2008) to win the prize.
Salah succeeds Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, who clinched the title in 2016 following his exploits with Leicester City during their remarkable Premier League-winning campaign.
“I would like to win this award also next year,” Salah told BBC Sport. “I have always followed my way, and I want everyone in Egypt to follow my way.
“Since I left Egypt, in my mind, I want to be the best Egyptian ever. I work hard and try to be different from them.”
Salah, who has also been nominated for the CAF African Footballer of the Year award, is currently the Premier League’s top scorer after scoring 13 goals in 16 outings since signing for the Reds this summer.
He also has five already in the Champions League, continuing the fine form he demonstrated with Roma in the Italian top flight last term, when he scored 15 and contributed 11 assists.
At international level, Salah was the key protagonist as Egypt reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations where they were beaten by Cameroon.
He was also influential as they ended their 28-year wait to feature in a World Cup, having a hand in all seven goals – scoring five – that saw the North African giants pip Uganda, Ghana and Congo-Brazzaville to a spot in Russia.
Salah memorably stepped up to net a stoppage-time penalty against the Congolese to confirm the Pharaohs’ participation, in one of the great moments in African football over the last 12 months.
“I would like to thank my Liverpool team-mates and I also had a good season with Roma so I have to thank my team-mates there and my team-mates in the national team,” Salah added.
“Since I came here, I wanted to work hard and show everyone my football. I wanted to come back to the Premier League since I left, so I am very happy.
See Previous winners
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
2015: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2014: Yacine Brahimi (Porto & Algeria)
2013: Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2012: Chris Katongo (Henan Construction & Zambia)
2011: Andre Ayew (Marseille & Ghana)
2010: Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)
2009: Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)
2008: Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2007: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)
2006: Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)
2005: Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2004: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2003: Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2002: El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)
2001: Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)
2000: Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)