Winning the PFA Player of the Year award is one of the highest individual honours on offer in English football. Voted on by a jury of players, it’s the ultimate recognition that you’ve hit the top of the Premier League mountain.
Do you know what’s better than winning it? Winning it twice.
Only a select few have ever manged to double up on PFA honours, so let’s see how they did it.
Years won: 1988/89, 1990/91
United finished the campaign in 11th, but Hughes’ individual success was rewarded with the PFA honour in 1989, and he bagged his second trophy just two years later.
Things went a bit better for the Red Devils in 1990/91, when United lifted the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and Hughes bagged a club-high 21 goals in all competitions, earning himself another PFA honour.
Years won: 1994/95, 1996/97
By firing Blackburn to the league title with a whopping 34 goals, Alan Shearer was always going to win the PFA Player of the Year award. Easy stuff.
He managed one more year at Ewood Park before making the £15m switch to Newcastle, where Shearer became the first man to win the award with two different teams.
The 1996/97 season saw Shearer fire home 25 goals in 31 games, finishing as the league’s top scorer for the third year in a row and delivering yet another individual trophy.
Years won: 2002/03, 2003/04
The first man to go back-to-back, Thierry Henry tormented the Premier League in the early 2000s, and his 2002/03 season was arguably the finest individual season the Premier League has ever seen.
In 37 games, not only did Henry bag 24 goals, but he also chimed in with a ridiculous 20 assists. Reaching double figures in both stats is hard, but hitting 20 in both is a different level.
Henry followed that up with 30 goals in Arsenal‘s unbeaten 2003/04 season, so a second PFA title was the least he deserved.
Years won: 2006/07, 2007/08
2006/07 was the year in which Cristiano Ronaldo became the Cristiano Ronaldo we know today.
Moving from stardom to superstardom, Ronaldo broke the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his career and led United to their first Premier League title since 2003. He finished second to Kaka in the Ballon d’Or race but there was no stopping him in the PFA running.
Ronaldo went from strength to strength in 2007/08. His 23 goals turned into 42 and his trophy cabinet started to look a bit silly. On top of another PFA award, he won the FWA Footballer of the Year, the UEFA Footballer of the Year, the European Golden Shoe, the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards. Not bad.
Years won: 2010/11, 2012/13
For Gareth Bale, 2010/11 was all about that hat-trick against Inter. It was so good that it somehow propelled him to a PFA award, despite the fact he scored just seven goals in 30 games.
Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez both hit 20 goals, while Robin van Persie bagged 18. Even the mighty DJ Campbell hit 13. Where was hit PFA award?
His 2012/13 triumph, however, was much more justifiable.
21 goals guided Bale to both the Player and Young Player of the year awards as well as the FWA Footballer of the Year, making him the first man since Ronaldo to win all three in one season.
Years won: 2019/20, 2020/21
Finishing off the list of double-winners is Kevin De Bruyne, whose spot here is just as contentious as Bale’s.
His 2019/20 season was ridiculous, with De Bruyne running away with 13 goals, 20 assists and a record-setting number of chances created. He was the best player in the league and everyone was fine with that.
Unfortunately, his 2020/21 victory didn’t exactly go down too well.
Nobody’s suggesting he wasn’t good, but six goals and 12 assists didn’t exactly set the world on fire. FWA winner Ruben Dias and Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who led the league in both goals and assists, had been expected to battle it out for the prize, but the jury instead handed it to De Bruyne again.