Victor Lindelof has won the Swedish Golden Ball award which is given to his country’s best player annually.
This is the second successive year that the Manchester United defender has claimed the award, which was previously won a remarkable 11 times by Zlatan Ibrahimovic between 2005-2016.
The award was also won by the legendary goalscorer Henrik Larsson in 1998 and 2014, while playing for Celtic and Barcelona, but he enjoyed a loan spell at Old Trafford in 2007 and still to this day we regret not making the move a permanent one.
After receiving the Golden Ball on Monday evening, Lindelof told TV4 (via ManUtd.com): “I am proud and grateful to have received this award two years in a row. It means that I have done something good and that people have liked it.
“It is hard to explain. I am very happy and proud. Now it will be even more hard work, I have many years left in my career and may be able to take home some more.
“As a player, you don’t go around thinking about it, you just do the best for your team, then you become happy when they call and announce that you’ve got the prize. It means a lot.”
Lindelof has thus far made 82 appearances for United, and last season was arguably our most improved player. It was a difficult season though, and I wouldn’t go as far to say he’s been anywhere near impressive this term.
It is difficult to imagine Lindelof being Harry Maguire’s defensive partner beyond this season. We are already seeing the complications it will bring with both centre-halves lacking pace and, let’s face it, the England international tops the pecking order at Old Trafford after becoming the world’s most expensive defender last summer.
That said, Lindelof signed a new long-term contract with United not long ago, keeping him at the club until at least June 2024 — with an option to extend for a further year.
In September he told ManUtd.com after signing the new deal: “Since the day I arrived at United it has felt like home. I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support. I love playing football and my aim now is to help the help to win trophies and repay the fans for their unrivalled support.
“I know that everyone at the club shares this vision and will give everything to get Manchester United back to where it belongs.
“I’m still young and know I can improve further but with the help of the boss and his coaching staff, I believe that only good things are ahead for this great club.”
There is also a chance for young Axel Tuanzebe to come in and make a claim for himself.
Marcos Rojo has performed well of late but hasn’t turned into a reliable defender overnight, but I do wonder if there’s any hope for Eric Bailly, who is recovering from a nasty injury. I’m just about hanging on to the Ivorian’s displays from 2016 when he first joined from Villarreal.