Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 3 May 2007

The SPAOTP Awards 2007 : Player of the Season

Time now for us to give you our verdict on who the best player in the Premiership has been during the 2006/07 season.

Once again, we'll give you the results in reverse order, thus maintaining a reasonable degree of excitement which admittedly could be undermined by a liberal use of the scroll bar...

3rd: Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
The 2007 African Footballer of the Year is currently top scorer in the Premiership with 19 goals and continues to pay back the £24 million that Chelsea paid out for him.

For a while this season we thought he'd sorted out that diving problem he once had, but recent weeks have seen him revert to his old ways. He still scores some cracking goals though, so it's 3rd place for the Chelsea number 11.

2nd: Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
A surprising choice to some, but Liverpool's vice-captain has been so diligent in his defensive duties that we feel he deserves great credit.

Carragher is part of a Liverpool defence which has conceded the second least number of goals (24) to Chelsea and which has let in just five goals at home all season.

Reliable and competent in what he does, we can at least be assured that there's one England player who'll give us hope for the future. The best defender in the country this season, bar none.

1st: Cristiano Ronaldo
Predictable perhaps, but with good reason. Starting out as a player whose repertoire of ball skills ran to just one - the much over-used stepover - Ronaldo has blossomed into a multi-faceted midfielder par excellence.

As we're probably all aware by now, he can raise the pulse of any spectator whenever he receives the ball. What he chooses to do with it is at the heart of the expectation that Ronaldo brings.

Swift runs, incisive passes, goal-bound free-kicks - hell, even a trick that's not a stepover, if you're lucky - it's always good to watch, even if a little painful should he be playing against your team.

That said, Ronaldo's not perfect. Like Drogba, he's capable of the odd unsavoury indiscretion like that first seen in the Euro 2004 incident with Wayne Rooney. Luckily, his good points outweigh the bad and this has been acknowledged by the Professional Footballers Association who recently honoured him with their Player of the Year award and Young Player of the Year Award for 2007.

We realise he's not everyone's cup of tea. You might think he's a show-off, a cheat, a narcissistic coathanger, whatever... at the heart of it all, he's a player who scores lots of goals, makes things happen and poses a threat to any team playing against him. That's why we've made him our Player of the Season.

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