FC Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov has been named as Bulgaria's player of the year, following in the footsteps of his father, who took the same prize 25 years ago.
The 23-year-old Mihaylov collected 224 points in the poll conducted among the nation's sports journalists, finishing clear of Aston Villa FC captain Stiliyan Petrov (200 points) and Manchester United FC striker Dimitar Berbatov (196), who has won the prize seven times. The goalkeeper's father, former Bulgaria No1 and now Bulgarian Football Union (BFS) president Borislav Mihaylov, won the same prize in 1986 while playing for PFC Levski Sofia.
"I would like to thank all my coaches with very special thanks to my first coach at Levski Sofia, Stanimir Stoilov, and my first coach in the national team, Hristo Stoichkov," said Nikolay Mihaylov, after collecting the award from his father. Borislav Mihaylov added: "As a father, I am very happy for Nikolay. The hardest and the most pressured position in football is goalkeeping and I am happy that, 25 years on, another goalkeeper has won this award."
PFC Chernomorets Burgas's Stoyan Kolev was voted as the Bulgarian league's best goalkeeper of 2011, while PFC CSKA Sofia's Ivan Bandalovski took credit as the division's top defender. Emil Gargorov of PFC Ludogorets Razgrad was hailed as the top midfielder, with CSKA's Romanian Ianis Zicu taking the prize for the best forward, and PFC Litex Lovech's Georgi Milanov being recognised as the most promising young player.
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