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UNFP Trophies: Player of the Year

Publish on 10/05/2022 at 07:52 - S. WILLIS

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Can anyone dethrone Kylian Mbappé? The Boy from Bondy has been nominated for a third successive gong after another ultra-successful season, but don't count out his fellow nominees Wissam Ben Yedder, Dimitri Payet, Lucas Paqueta and Martin Terrier. Check out our run-down right here…

The UNFP Trophies are a number of awards given annually by the National Union of Professional Football Players to players playing in France's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, as well as to managers and referees, the most prestigious one being the Player of the Year.

Ligue 1 Uber Eats Player of the Year

The team that has won the title of best player most often is Paris Saint-Germain (10 times). Individually, Zlatan Ibrahimović has won this award three times, which is a record. AS Monaco are the club with the most Young Player of the Year trophies (5). Individually, only Eden Hazard (2) and Kylian Mbappé (3) have won it more than once.

Olympique Lyonnais have won the title of best goalkeeper are record seven times. Steve Mandanda holds the individual record with five gongs, while AS Monaco and LOSC are tied for the record of Coach of the Year (5 times). Laurent Blanc and current Nice coach Christophe Galtier (nominated this year) have each won the award three times.

The Nominees

Kylian Mbappé
World football's brightest prospect is also Ligue 1 Uber Eats' stand-out player in 2021-22. At just 23, he already has five UNFP trophies to his name - three for Young Player of the Year (2017-2019) and two for Player of the Year (2019 and 2020) - and is a red-hot favourite to add a sixth. With 24 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1 Uber Eats at time of writing, Mbappé tops the scorers chart and the assists chart.  Across Europe's top five leagues, and in all competitions, only Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (43 goals + 14 assists) boasts a better record than Mbappé's 35 goals and 19 assists. In what could be the out-of-contract superstar's last season in France, no-one could say he is an undeserving winner should he bag a third Player of the Year gong in a row.

Wissam Ben Yedder
Diminutive Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder would be another deserving winner. The Ligue 1 Uber Eats veteran, still just 31, is enjoying his most prolific season ever in France, his 21 goals and four assists playing a key role in Monaco's late-season charge for a Champions League finish. Off the bench or as a starter, France international Ben Yedder always brings intensity, focus and above all quality to the table, combining well with strike partner Kevin Volland to run Ligue 1 Uber Eats defences ragged. His movement and strength on the ball are always impressive but it is his razor-sharp finishing that really sets him apart. Pure quality.

Dimitri Payet
The Olympique de Marseille and France playmaker needs little introduction. The jewel in the crown of Jorge Sampaoli's squad, Dimitri Payet has the vision, composure, passing range and technical quality to make just about any player jealous. Add to this the experience of 468 Ligue 1 Uber Eats matches (plus 48 in the English Premier League) and you have a playmaker who is enjoying his most prolific goal scoring campaign in a decade (12 goals) while also reaching double figures in assists (ten) - all while playing a key leadership role as his side push to clinch second place in Ligue 1 Uber Eats after making it all the way to the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals.

Lucas Paqueta
Something of an unknown quantity when he arrived from AC Milan, Olympique Lyonnais' Brazil international Lucas Paqueta has emerged as one of OL coach Peter Bosz's most important players. Capable of playing anywhere in the centre of the park, it is as an attacking midfielder that he has shone the brightest in a campaign that has seen him rack up eight goals and six assists. It's not just his silky skills and eye for goal that set him apart, however, it's also his rapacious will to win - and habit of scoring against PSG! - that make him both a fan and coach favourite.

Martin Terrier
If there were a most improved award among the UNFP Trophies, it would undoubtedly go to Stade Rennais FC 's Martin Terrier this year. Having played for Strasbourg and Olympique Lyonnais before making the move to Roazhon Park, the 25-year-old is no stranger to Ligue 1 Uber Eats fans, but it has only been under coach Bruno Genesio in the current campaign that the astute and technically gifted striker has hit his straps. After hitting nine goals in each of his last two full seasons, the former France U21 international has been duking it out with Kylian Mbappé atop the Ligue 1 Uber Eats scorers chart and has 21 goals to his name at time of writing. His clever runs, clinical finishing and preternatural understanding with midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud have made him one of the deadliest marksmen in the division, and whether he gets the UNFP gong or not, Terrier is a player with an extremely bright future.

>> UNFP Trophies: Goalkeeper of the Year

>> UNFP Trophies: Coach of the Year

>> UNFP Trophies: Young Player of the Year