Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who inspired her side to victory at the 2013 UEFA Women's EURO, has scooped the first-ever UEFA Best Women's Player in Europe Award.
"I'm totally happy and totally surprised. This prize was so unexpected," a beaming Angerer told reporters after receiving her trophy at the Swiss headquarters of European football's governing body UEFA.
Angerer topped the vote of an 18-member panel of sports journalists who focus on women's football. She beat Germany midfielder Lena Gossling, whose club Wolfsburg won the women's Champions League, and Swedish striker Lotta Schelin of Olympique Lyonnais, Golden Boot winner at EURO 2013.
"Lena won every title this year, she played a fantastic Euro tournament, and Lotta is an incredible forward, so that's why I'm so proud to have won this," said Angerer.
Angerer, 34, recently left her German club Frankfurt for Australia's Brisbane Roar. Captaining Germany to victory at Euro 2013 in Sweden in July - and saving two penalties in the 1-0 final defeat of Norway - Angerer marked her fifth triumph in the competition.
Karen Espelund, a member of UEFA's executive committee and head of its women's football arm, underlined the importance of having created a women's player of the year award. "It's probably the right time to have launched this best player award because we have had the EURO and Champions League for many years now," Espelund told reporters.
"The competition at European level is really tough now, again it was a German year, with Wolfsburg winning the Champions League final and Germany winning the Euro again."
The women's game has gone from strength to strength in Europe, she noted. "All of those watching the Champions League final and the Euro saw the immense development," she said.