Ruben Neves has added a second Player of the Year award at Wolves to what is increasingly shaping up as his possible Molineux farewell.
The brilliant Portuguese international shrugged off the disappointment of Everton’s last-gasp equaliser to receive the award for which fans vote on the club’s official website.
The 26-year-old has been outstanding during a difficult team campaign, although the major post-Christmas improvement under Julen Lopetegui saw to it that Premier League survival was effectively guaranteed with five matches left.
Neves has been head and shoulders their best performer in 2022-23 and was also presented with a second Player of the Year award yesterday teatime – the one voted by his team-mates.
On top of his promptings, he has scored six goals and therefore stands alongside Daniel Podence as the club’s leading marksman.
It is the second time he has been voted POTY in his six years at Molineux, the first having come in his first season in English football.
There have also been occasions in between when he has challenged strongly for the award, which has become the domain of foreign imports since Richard Steadman (2014-15) and Matt Doherty (2015-16) were honoured.
Yesterday’s post-match awards ceremony also took in the successful Wolves Women squad, who have not only just finished agonisingly behind Northern Premier Division champions Nottingham Forest on goal difference but also as winners of the Birmingham County Cup.
A midfielder also walked away with their main two individual awards, with Tammi George monopolising the voting.
Neves was accompanied by his family (see photograph below) as he made an emotional walk around the pitch afterwards, with the stadium still around half full.
But the way each of his team-mates made a point of going up to him to give him a hug when he was replaced by Boubacar Traore two minutes from the end of normal time looked rather like part of the departure process.
If this is the summer in which he departs and fulfils his ambition to grace the Champions League, Everton will have been his final Premier League opponents at Molineux, as well as the first ones in August, 2018.
Please visit our POTY section to remind yourself who has won the main Player of the Year award in the past, starting with Steve Daley, who was in the crowd yesterday, in 1976-77.