Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the AIFF Player of the Year award during the farewell exhibition match of Bhaichung Bhutia against German giants Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Chhetri was handed the award by AIFF President Praful Patel in a presentation during the interval. He was handed a silver plaque and a Cheque of Rs.2 lakh.
An elated Chhetri thanked all his team-mates and coaches and the AIFF for the award.
"This is an inspiration to do better. 2011 has been good for me. I had earlier received the Arjuna Award and now the AIFF Player of the Year Award. It feels nice when your achievements are recognised," he said.
Chhetri who scored 24 goals (13 International goals and 11 goals for Clubs) in 2011 had earlier received the Award in 2007.
In his message, Patel congratulated Chhetri and wished him more success in coming years.
"Sunil Chhetri is a deserving recipient of the Award. I hope this will spur him on to bring more laurels for the National Team in the near future. I wish him success in coming years," Patel said.
For the first time the Award was decided in a democratic manner where all the coaches of the I-League playing teams voted unanimously on the four short-listed footballers.