Jurgen Degabriele said that he is hungry to achieve more success in his football career after the Hibernians striker was on Friday crowned as the 2022 MFA Player of the Year.
For the 25-year-old striker, this was the first time he has inscribed his name on the prestigious trophy and comes after an extraordinary campaign with Hibernians which has seen him play a key role in their run to the league title.
In fact, the nippy forward managed to score 14 goals in 26 appearances while he also managed to register five assists in total as well.
Degabriele also became the fifth Hibernians’ player to clinch this award in the last ten years, following in the footsteps of Clayton Failla (2012), Andrew Cohen (2015), Bjorn Kristensen (2017) and Andrei Agius (2019).
“I am really happy to have won the MFA Player of the Year award,” Degabriele told the Times of Malta.
“It’s an honour for me to see my name written on such a prestigious trophy along so many legends of Maltese football. It’s a dream come true for me.
“I would like to thank my parents for everything they have done with me over the years as well as my girlfriend for the huge sacrifices she has to do to support me. Last but not least my team-mates who without them I would be not here holding this trophy.”
For Degabriele, winning the MFA Player of the Year Award is a huge personal victory after coming through some tough months in recent years which saw him sidelined with long-term injuries.
“This is a bit of a personal victory for me,” Degabriele said.
“After two difficult seasons, where I was sidelined with long-term injuries and then continuous stoppages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I set myself a clear target last summer. I wanted to finish the season without suffering any injury and luckily all went well and to be honest everything fell into place for me last season.
“In fact, this has been my best season so far in my career from all aspects and it had a fairytale ending as the team went on to win the league title.”
Degabriele has been part of the Hibernians family since he was a kid and asked who was the player he idolised when he started his career, the young forward had a straightforward answer.
“Without a doubt Andrew Cohen,” Degabriele said.
“When I was a child he was already playing with Hibernians and he was my idol. When I made it to the first team we became team-mates and today he is one of the biggest friends that I have.
“He is the player I always looked up to. Many people tell that we have some common characteristics, but I continue to argue that Andrew Cohen is my idol. He helped me a lot in my career to improve as a player and I will be always grateful to him.”
The 2022-23 season is already under way for Degabriele, who is part of the Hibernians side who is preparing for Tuesday’s UEFA Conference League second qualifying round first leg tie against Levadia Tallinn, of Estonia.
Degabriele said that his main goal for the new campaign is to continue where he left off at the end of last season and said that winning the MFA Player of the Year Award has only increased his hunger for more success as he looks to help Hibernians challenge on all fronts.
“Winning the Player of the Year Award is very special but I’m still very young and I feel that there is more to come from me,” the Malta forward said.
“I’d like to continue where I left off last season and help my team to continue our challenge for all major domestic honours.
“Winning the league title was very tough but to defend the title crown is far more difficult and that is our biggest challenge next term.
“Besides we have a European tie coming up this week and certainly we want to do better than we did last season in the UEFA Conference League so we have a lot to play for.”
Despite his young age, Degabriele has established himself as one of the most popular figures among the Hibernians fans and also among young players who are dreaming of starting a career in the Beautiful Game.
Asked if he has a message to pass on, Degabriele said: “Never give up irrespective of what other people tell you.
“When I was growing up I can’t tell you how many things they used to tell me… that I was small, was not powerful enough. But I always kept my head done and worked hard.
“If you have a dream and you believe that you can do it, nobody can take it away from you if you work hard.”
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