May 22, 2015
Raised in France, Ben Khalfallah knew little about Australian soccer before he was recruited to Melbourne Victory.Photo: Getty Images
Fahid Ben Khalfallah made an extraordinary impact in his first A-League season, helping Melbourne Victory to a resounding grand final victory over Sydney FC. And the attacker can add an individual honour to his trophy cabinet, after receiving his club’s highest individual prize on Friday night.
A favourite for the award, he received the Victory medal at the Crown Palladium in front of 1000 guests.
The team’s three top players of the season were all imports, showing the power of successful overseas recruiting in building Victory’s success.
Raised in France, Ben Khalfallah knew little about Australian soccer before he was recruited to Melbourne Victory. He played for French teams – superstars Bordeaux, then Troyes FC – then moved to Melbourne with his wife and daughter to try his luck in the A-League, where he has been praised for his competitiveness and silky skills.
His perfect pass to Leigh Broxham resulted in a goal, the icing on the cake of Victory’s 3-0 grand final win.
Despite the interest of other Australian teams, he has signed on for another two years at the Melbourne club.
Head coach Kevin Muscat and assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny cast their votes for the Victory medal after each game.
Ben Khalfallah topped the point-count with 43 votes, closely followed by French defender Matthieu Delpierre, also in his first Australian soccer season, who scored 38, with Albanian Besart Berisha close behind.
Canberra-born Carl Valeri and New Zealand’s Kosta Barbarouses rounded out the top five vote-winners.
Delpierre had a strong European career before moving to Melbourne and, despite missing several months of play with an injured foot, managed to add poise to Victory’s defence.
Melbourne Victory’s awards announcement said Ben Khalfallah polled in 11 of the 27 games he played, scoring five goals and providing nine assists.
“The dynamic forward had to withstand a barnstorming finish from central defender Delpierre, who missed 13 consecutive games from round four due to injury, but polled in eight of the final 12 games, including both finals series appearances,” it said.
Delpierre has signed on with Victory for one more season, thanking Victory for welcoming him and his family.
In the W-League, midfielder Amy Jackson was Victory’s player of the year and 17-year-old Beatrice Goad was young player of the year.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah 43
Matthieu Delpierre 38
Besart Berisha 37
Carl Valeri 33
Kosta Barbarouses 29
Players’ Player of the Year
Goal of the Year
Carl Valeri (Round 14, v Western Sydney)
Golden Boot Award
Besart Berisha (15 goals)
Player of the Year
Young Player of the Year
Players’ Player of the Year
The Canberra Times