Sydney FC defender Nikola Petkovic has taken out the club’s top award at Tuesday night’s Sky Blue Ball, after being named Player of the Year.
The 28-year-old Serbian was outstanding in his debut season in the A-League, and was one of just three Sydney players – along with keeper Vedran Janjetovic and midfielder Ali Abbas – to play every minute of the Sky Blues’ campaign.
Petkovic was re-signed by the club for the next two years and should be able to continue to forge a strong central defensive partnership with Socceroo World Cup hopeful Sash Ognenovski next season.
Incidentally, Petkovic has also taken out the inaugural Sky Time Player of the Year award, although our trophy isn’t quite as flash – or as existent for that matter – as the one in the picture.
Below are our top five choices for Sydney’s best performers of the 2013-2014 A-League season –
1. Nikola Petkovic
It didn’t take Petkovic long to prove his worth. The former Serbian U21 international was a model of consistency at the back for Sydney all season long, and also showed plenty of class going forward with his clever passing. His lethal left foot also came in handy in dead-ball situations in ADP’s absence.
2. Alessandro Del Piero
Struggled to stay on the pitch in the early rounds of the season, but – other than a couple of quiet performances – was again at his brilliant best for the majority of Sydney’s campaign, netting 10 goals and several assists. ADP’s cunning ability to milk fouls in the attacking third was again a major feature, as he was constantly tightly marked by opposition defenders.
3. Seb Ryall
A breakthrough year for the centre-back-cum-wing-back, who had struggled in previous years when asked to play on either flank of the back-four. Seb found an attacking swagger that allowed him to prove a real threat from right-back this season, scoring no less than six goals, two of which will live long in the memory of Sky Blues fans.
4. Ali Abbas
Unfortunately for Ali, his late season stoush with Wanderers striker Brendan Santalab due to alleged racial slurs made towards Abbas, has overshadowed what was a fine season for the Iraqi-born midfielder. While his team mates were often lacking enthusiasm or a willingness to push forward, the pro-active Abbas was always full of energy and purpose in the Sydney engine room.
5. Vedran Janjetovic
In his second season as the Sky Blues’ number one gloveman, Janjetovic was asked to do more than his fair share between the posts, behind an often flimsy Sydney defence. There were plenty of stand-out performances for the 26-year-old, but none more so than his effort in the final Sydney Derby of the season, when Janjetovic’s penalty save turned the game and propelled his side to a come-from-behind win.
Have your say: Who is your pick for Sydney’s best player this season?