Frankfurt-born Emre Can was one of the winners at the German Football Ambassador awards. The main prize went to Gernot Rohr for promoting Germany through international football.
Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has won the people's prize at the 2016 German Football Ambassador awards, following in the footsteps of three World Cup winners.
The 22-year-old has become an integral figure at the Premier League giants under the guidance of German coach Jürgen Klopp. Can, a combative and dynamic midfielder, was developed at Bayern Munich before spending a year at Bayer Leverkusen.
He was soon picked up by Liverpool, who activated a release clause in his contract. After taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October, former Borussia Dortmund coach Klopp has made German international Can a key player in the side. Can and Klopp will lead Liverpool into the UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla next week.
Germany has a long history of exporting footballers and the demand for German players and coaches has increased substantially since the national side won the World Cup in 2014.
The German Football Ambassador initiative honors players and coaches who promote a positive image of Germany through their endeavors abroad. Past winners of the prize include Sami Khedira (2013), Andre Schürrle (2014) and Mesut Özil (2015).
Can took the people's prize after 57,000 votes were cast online, with Toni Kroos and Miroslav Klose finishing second and third respectively. The Liverpool player will be presented with a cash donation, which he will use for a social project in the United Kingdom.
Rohr takes main prize
Gernot Rohr received the main honor on the night in recognition of more than 40 years of service to international football. The 62-year-old has coached in France, Switzerland, Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso, his most recent job before leaving in December 2015. "I live as a German in France, but I feel European," said Rohr, a former player for Bayern Munich in the 1970s.
"This award makes me proud and especially the handing over by my former teammates. I'm very pleased," he added. Since the awards were founded in 2012, Holger Obermann (2013), Monika Staab (2014) and Jürgen Klinsmann have been praised for their work in promoting Germany's image through football.
Meanwhile, the honorary prize went to Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, a former German international footballer who won league championships with Cologne and AC Milan. He won the European Cup in 1969 at Milan and was given third place in the 1962 Ballon D'Or awards.