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Teemu Pukki named Finnish Athlete of the Year

16 January 2020

Teemu Pukki has been crowned 2019 Athlete of the Year at the annual Finland Urheilugaala (Sports Gala) in Helsinki.

Pukki was one of 26 nominees for the prestigious national award, beating the likes of Finland teammate and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky and Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas to the crown.

Pukki enjoyed a remarkable 2019 for both club and country, helping Norwich City claim the Sky Bet Championship title in May and Finland qualify for their first-ever major tournament six months later.

The 29-year-old scored a remarkable 33 goals for club and country, a number of them crucial in the success of the Canaries and Huuhkajat.

He said: “I’m really honoured. It’s been a crazily good year; we did some amazing things with Norwich and of course with Finland as well.

“Qualifying for the EUROs and playing in the Premier League – I’m happy about this and the award means that I had a pretty good year!

“It’s been a long, long journey to be here in the Premier League and playing at the EUROs. I need to thank all my teammates and the coaches from all my previous teams.

“It’s so hard to pick one player to win an award like this because football is a team sport and as a striker you need other players to make you shine.

“They will create the chances and without them, I can’t do what I do. I’m thankful to them and my family as well. They’ve been supporting me through the good and bad times.

“It’s nice that the people in Finland have recognised what I’ve been doing. Qualifying for the EUROs meant a lot to Finnish people.

“Many things have happened to me recently that I never thought would happen but now I’m in the Premier League and going to the EUROs. Everything will happen if you work hard.”

Pukki wasn’t restricted to just one award on the night. He was also handed “Moment of the Year” for his part in sealing qualification to EURO 2020 with the win over Liechtenstein on November 15 and “Team of the Year” for his role in the Finnish national teams unparalleled achievement.


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