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Indeed, Alaba, beat downhill skier Marcel Hirscher and ski-jumper Gregor Schlierenzauer to the gong, receiving the prize in a live television link-up in Munich from his FC Bayern team-mate and UEFA Best Player in Europe Franck Ribery.
The prize is voted for by Austrian journalists and is awarded on the Nacht des Sports gala evening in Vienna. “As a footballer in Austria, it’s not so easy to win this award,” said the 21-year-old prior to the ceremony. “It’s a real honour just to be in the running for it.”
In an interview published on the Bayern Munich website before the award show, Alaba said: “It’s certainly all happened very quickly. I know I’m living a dream held by lots of young people, and I’m living my personal dream.
“I’m very thankful and obviously I do have to pinch myself every now and then, because I can hardly believe it’s all true. I have good people around me who do the pinching for me from time to time — it helps me keep my feet on the ground.”
Alaba said his popularity in Austria has turned his life upside down.
“Just taking a stroll isn’t as easy as it was. A lot of fun things happen around me, some of them quite moving,” he said, before describing an incident that occurred during a visit to the presidential residence last summer.
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