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The last five footballers to win BBC Sports Personality

For the second successive year, a footballer has claimed the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Mary Earps has been recognised with the honour in 2023, following her role in the Lionesses reaching a first ever Women’s World Cup final in Australia earlier this year.

The Manchester United goalkeeper has become the second women’s footballer to win the award, and just the fifth footballer recognised in the last 25 years.

Here are the last five footballers to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Michael Owen (1998)

Michael Owen catapulted himself to stardom during an unforgettable 1998, as the teenager was crowned as the Premier League’s leading scorer.

The 18-year-old scored 18 league goals to share the Premier League’s Golden Boot alongside Chris Sutton and Dion Dublin, before starring during England’s World Cup campaign in France.

Initially not expected to break up the successful partnership of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham in attack, an equaliser off the bench against Romania made Owen England’s youngest ever goalscorer in the tournament, and earned the forward a start in the knockout rounds.

Against Argentina in the last-16, the teenager scored a stunning solo goal after beating two defenders to fire home. England exited the tournament on penalties, but Owen’s star was firmly on the rise.

He won the Premier League Player of the Season award, the PFA Young Player of the Year, and finished fourth in the vote for the 1998 Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Michael Owen Exclusive: England icon talks to The Football Faithful

David Beckham (2001)

David Beckham’s redemption arc was completed after being award the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2001.

Beckham had faced huge backlash for his role in England’s 1998 World Cup exit, after a petulant red card in the defeat to Argentina in Saint-Etienne. After bouncing back to win a treble at Manchester United the following season, his turnaround continued with his appointment as England captain in 2000.

The midfielder was named Sports Personality of the Year after he scored a late free kick against Greece to seal England’s place at the 2002 World Cup.

Midfield Magicians: David Beckham, Golden Balls

Ryan Giggs (2009)

Ryan Giggs received the Sports Personality of the Year award in 2009, beating Formula One World Champion Jenson Button and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill to the award.

The Welsh winger was recognised for the longevity of his one-club career at Manchester United, as Giggs passed 800 appearances for the Red Devils and scored his 150th goal for the club. Giggs was named PFA Player of the Year as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won the Premier League, and also helped the club to the Champions League final.

He is one of just five Welsh winners of the award, alongside golfer Dai Rees, show jumper David Broome, boxer Joe Calzaghe, and cyclist Geraint Thomas.

Beth Mead (2022)

Beth Mead became the first women’s footballer to win Sports Personality, following her role in England’s historic European Championship success.

The Lionesses became the first England team to win a major tournament since 1966, after beating Germany 2-1 after extra time at Wembley.

Mead won the Best Player and Golden Boot awards at the tournament, having scored six goals and provided five assists in six games. Her return included a hat-trick against Norway in the group stage.

Mary Earps (2023)

Mary Earps made is back-to-back Sports Personality awards for the Lionesses, claiming the prize in 2023 ahead of cricketer Stuart Broad and heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Earps won the Golden Glove as England reached the Women’s World Cup final for the first time and saved a penalty during the Lionesses’ 1-0 defeat to Spain in the final. The 30-year-old also won the Golden Glove in the WSL, after recording 14 clean sheets for Manchester United.

The shot-stopper won plaudits for her work off the pitch, after arguing against Nike’s decision not to sell a replica of her goalkeeper shirt for fans. After overturning the decision, two versions of the shirt sold out.

Read – Earps grateful after winning BBC Sports Personality

See more – Ranking the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League

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