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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Friday, 17 December 2010

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan is named as 2010 BBC winner


Gyan thanks fans for his award

Ghana and Sunderland star Asamoah Gyan has been crowned BBC African Footballer of the Year for 2010.

The Black Stars striker clinched the title with an overwhelming majority - receiving more than half of the vote.

He finished well ahead of fellow Ghanaian Andre 'Dede' Ayew, Ivorians Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon.

"I'm so happy, I can't believe it," he said. "I'm so thankful to all the fans who voted for me."

He added: "It was really hard to win this award, especially because of all the other players I was up against.

"So I'm so appreciative to all my fans in Africa - especially my family and fans in Ghana."

Gyan had a memorable year internationally, leading Ghana to second place at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, scoring three of the four goals that helped the Black Stars reach their first final in 18 years.

At the World Cup in South Africa, the 24-year-old grabbed the world's attention as another three goals helped them progress from the group and into the quarter-finals.

But he shot to prominence through unfortunate circumstances as his missed penalty against Uruguay with the last kick of the game denied Africa its first semi-final berth.

He then earned widespread praise and went some way to redeeming his error when he recovered his composure to score in the shoot-out following a 1-1 draw.

Steve Bruce presents the award to Gyan
Gyan receives the award from Sunderland manager Steve Bruce

Despite the disappointment of the World Cup exit, the finals boosted his career as he left French side Rennes to become Sunderland's record signing at £13m.

"Asamoah has been a fantastic addition to the Sunderland squad," said Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, who presented Gyan with the African Footballer of the Year trophy.

"As our record signing, he had a lot of expectation placed on his shoulders but he has embraced the club wholeheartedly and has settled in very well.

"He's a strong, quick player and brings something different to the side.

"He has formed positive partnerships with other strikers and he's a real bright spark around the place too - always smiling and happy.

"He has an infectious joy for football, and we are reaping the rewards of that.

"I'm thrilled for Asamoah that he has been awarded this honour, it is thoroughly deserved."

The search for BBC African Footballer of the Year 2010 began on 15 November when fans were given the chance to choose their African football hero from a shortlist selected by experts from each of the continent's 52 countries.

Public voting closed on 10 December 2010 - with votes cast online at or via text messages.

Asamoah Gyan celebrates scoring against USA in the World Cup

Gyan's contrasting fortunes at World Cup

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see also
Voting closes for BBC award
10 Dec 10 |  African
Shortlist revealed for BBC award
15 Nov 10 |  African
Gyan grateful to Sunderland boss
09 Nov 10 |  Sunderland
Legend backs Gyan to succeed
05 Nov 10 |  African
Striker Gyan content to bide time
07 Oct 10 |  Sunderland
Bruce convinced by Gyan qualities
09 Sep 10 |  Sunderland
Gyan ready for English challenge
08 Sep 10 |  African
Mensah confident of Gyan success
07 Sep 10 |  Sunderland
Sunderland pay 13m to sign Gyan
31 Aug 10 |  Sunderland
Ghana welcomes Black Star heroes
06 Jul 10 |  Africa
Ghana boss proud despite defeat
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Gyan devotes Ghana win to Africa
26 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Goal was for all of Africa - Gyan
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ghana 0-1 Egypt
31 Jan 10 |  African

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