Portsmouth FC defender Hermann Hreidarsson and Valur Reykjavík striker Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir have been voted Iceland's Footballers of the Year for the third time each in a double triumph for the volcanic Vestmanna Islands, from whose 4,000-strong population both internationals emerged.
The pair received their prizes at the Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ) headquarters on Monday following a decision by the KSÍ players' board who had consulted former internationals, coaches and other key figures. Hreidarsson, 33, takes the title after previous triumphs in 1997 and 2000, beating off competition from holder Eidur Gudjohnsen, who came second ahead of AZ Alkmaar's Grétar Steinsson.
'In good shape'
Hreidarsson won his 75th cap this year and passed 400 league appearances, including more than 300 in England where he moved from relegated Charlton Athletic FC to Portsmouth in the summer – his sixth club since leaving Icelandic side ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar in 1997. "I feel fine, in good shape and you can't ask for much more," Hreidarsson said. "It is good to have such recognition, then you know you are doing something right. There have been ups and downs this season but I remember the best parts – we now have a good national team which is going well and I hope we will have a good start to our next campaign."
Vidarsdóttir retained the women's crown she won last year after another free-scoring 12 months. She hit 38 goals in the Icelandic league as Valur again finished top, beating the record she set in 2006, and also struck nine times in the UEFA Women's Cup as her club only just missed out on the quarter-finals. In addition, the 21-year-old registered eight goals in nine internationals in 2007, including the winner in a memorable 1-0 UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying defeat of France. "This has been a great year, the best so far. You might have thought it would not be possible to do better than the year before, but luckily you can still improve," said Vidarsdóttir, who was also crowned the country's sportsperson of the year by journalists in Iceland.
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