(CNN)Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and compatriot Vivianne Miedema pulled off an unprecedented double at the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) awards Sunday, becoming the first winners of both the men's and women's Player of the Year awards to hail from the same country.
Van Dijk, Miedema pull off Dutch double in PFA awards
The Liverpool defensive stalwart, who has been instrumental in his team's title challenge this season, came to the club for a record $97 million transfer fee. He inherits the trophy from the 2018 winner and his club teammate, Mohamed Salah.
The award is the result of voting from the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs, and van Dijk said in an interview shortly after being named the 2019 winner that it was "the highest honor you can get as a player, to get voted player of the year by the players you play against, every week. It's special."
The award is made all the sweeter by the rarity of players in his position who have won it. In the 27-year history of Premier League, only two defenders, John Terry and Paul McGrath, have previously claimed the award.
"It's special, definitely," said 27-year-old van Dijk. "If you look at the standard of strikers we have in the league, of playmakers we have in the league, it's unbelievable. If you see the shortlist, what kind of quality there is, it's very special that players in the league voted for me. I won't take it for granted but it's very special."
Van Dijk's fellow Dutch star Miedema became the first Arsenal Ladies' player since 2013 to be named women's Player of the Year, and she paid tribute to her team which wrapped up the league title on Sunday with a 4-0 win over Brighton.
"I'm obviously really proud to represent my team here, we've had an amazing year, especially with winning the league," she said.
"I'm just really happy I could help my team all season long with scoring goals and it means a lot," referencing the 22 league goals she contributed this campaign.
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, who was also in the running for the main award, had to settle for the Young Player of the Year prize. He was joined by fellow City player Georgia Stanway.
The dominance of the two teams battl