Chelsea FC striker Adrian Mutu has been named as Romania's Player of the Year for the first time in his career.
Votes from senior footballing officials and journalists saw the player scoop the honour at the Romanian Football Gala on Tuesday night. Mutu chartered a plane from London to Bucharest along with Chelsea team-mates Marcel Desailly, Mario Melchiot, Claude Makelele and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to receive his award.
"I am very proud of this award, which is more important for me than the prize for the best foreign player in the Italian league, which I received at the end of last season," said Mutu. "
Now all I hope is that I will make my contribution to Romania qualifying for the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup."
The ceremony was held up to give Mutu and his Chelsea team-mates time to take part in the celebrations, but they were all on the flight back to London in less than 12 hours. Mutu's Chelsea team-mate Desailly was given the honour of presenting Mutu with his award.
The ceremony, organised by the Romanian Football Federation and the Club of Romanian Sports Journalists, also saw FC Rapid Bucuresti coach Mircea Rednic pick up a prize as Coach of the Year after winning the league and Romanian Super Cup. He was dismissed in December when Rapid's new owner Ioan Becali brought in a new coach, Dan Petrescu.
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