Muriqui claims awards double in China

Guangzhou Evergrande striker Muriqui capped a superb 2011 by being crowned the Chinese Player of the Year at last night’s awards ceremony.

The diminutive 25-year-old, who also collected the Golden Boot after his 16 goals helped Lee Jang-Soo’s side cruise to their first major title, beat off competition from the likes of team-mate Dario Conca, Jiangsu Sainty pair Aleksandar Jevtic and Cristian Danalache, and Leandro Netto of Henan Construction to be named the Super League’s top performer.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had won,” said Muriqui, who joined Guangzhou from Atletico Mineiro in his native Brazil last year. “It really was a marvellous campaign.

“I am really happy that my work has been recognised, especially because this year the competition boasted renowned foreigners such as Dario Conca and Obina. This enhances my achievements even further.”

Ma the mastermind, Song the starlet

Ma Lin claimed the Coach of the Year honour after unexpectedly guiding Liaoning Whowin to a third-placed finish in the Super League, which earned them a play-off for a place in next year’s AFC Champions League.

The 49-year-old was firmly entrenched in Liaoning’s pantheon of legends before he assumed their reins in 2008. Indeed, as a skilful and prolific forward, he helped the North-East Tigers win six Chinese top-flight titles and the Asian Club Championship - a precursor to the AFC Champions League - in 1990.

Forward Song Wenjie was named the Rookie of the Year. The 20-year-old helped Qingdao Jonoon, who avoided relegation by the skinniest of margins last year, come home in sixth.