It’s been quite a week for Reading forward George Pușcaș. Two days after grabbing a brilliant hat-trick for the Royals to beat Wigan, he was named Striker of the Year and Player of the Year at the Gala Fotbalului Românesc 2019 – the annual awards ceremony in Romanian football.
Awarded this year on 2nd December – the day after Romania’s national holiday Great Union Day – the prestigious Player of the Year award recognises the talents and achievements of the players over the calendar year.
And the list of past recipients is star-studded – former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward Gheorghe Hagi, ex-Chelsea and Juventus striker Adrian Mutu, former Ajax, Roma and Inter centre-half Cristian Chivu and ex-AC Milan and Atletico Madrid full-back Cosmin Contra are just some of the catalogue of winners of the award.
For Pușcaș, 2019 has been a productive year. On loan at Palermo last season, he netted six goals for the Sicilian side after New Year, before finishing as top scorer in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship – grabbing four goals for Romania as they reached the semi-final in Italy.
And since joining the Royals, as well as grabbing two goals for the senior Romania team, he has found the back of the net seven times in Reading colours to make him our leading scorer to date. That included two fabulous Madejski Stadium goals against Cardiff City and last weekend’s hat-trick at the DW Stadium.
Pușcaș’ closest rivals for the Player of the Year were Genoa goalkeeper Andrei Ionuț Radu, on loan from Inter, and Ciprian Deac, whose midfield contributions helped CFR Cluj to the Romanian Liga I title and Champions League qualification.
And by winning the Player of the Year award, Pușcaș was a shoo-in for the Striker of the Year award, where Ludogorets forward Claudiu Keşeru and New York City attacker Alexandru Mitriță were also on the shortlist.
Many congratulations to George on his double-award win!