Alessandro Diamanti claims Johnny Warren Medal at Dolan Warren Awards
Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti claimed the Johnny Warren Medal for his outstanding debut Hyundai A-League campaign, receiving the honour at the Dolan Warren Awards held online on Thursday night.
Diamanti received 34 points from a panel that included former professional players, technical experts, match officials and media representatives.
He was followed by Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC – 28 points) and Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City FC – 25 points) with Diego Castro (Perth Glory – 23 points) and Ulises Dávila (Wellington Phoenix – 23 points) in equal fourth place.
Diamanti was recruited by Western United ahead of their inaugural Hyundai A-League campaign, and the international marquee proved to be the perfect fit for the Green and Black.
Donning the captains armband for Mark Rudan's side Diamanti led by example throughout the 2019/20 campaign, displaying a damaging set of skills which produced eight goals, five assists and plenty of awe-inspiring moments displaying the trickery, guile and poise which put the Italian on a different level to his competitors.
"It’s a huge pleasure, it’s a great honour, it’s incredible satisfaction," Diamanti said when accepting the Johnny Warren Medal.
"I just want to say thanks to share this medal with my teammates, with the [coaching staff], with my club and my supporters.
My family, my parents, everyone... always they stand by my side, it’s unbelievable and I’m very excited."
Diamanti's first season of Hyundai A-League football was memorable for so many more reasons than one.
His on-field performances aside, Diamanti's personality and energetic charisma proved an infectious quality which won over United fans and neutrals alike.
Diamanti says it's the way he's been all of his life, and translating that energy and entertainment onto the football pitch may be the secret to his success.
"I’m always like this," he said.
When I go to sleep in the night I put my body on charge and wake up with 100% energy. I’m always like this, I play like that all my life.
"I’m very happy, I want to continue with this behaviour, with this attitude… because when I go on the pitch before a game, when I walk on the pitch I feel the butterflies in my body still like I’m a kid, maybe this is my secret.
"I like to give the smile and positive things to the people, maybe in this moment I can help so if I can share my normal life and people like, I’m happy.
"I feel very good, my body feels very good but it’s important in this sport and in this job at my age if you feel good [in] your head - my head is very free.
"I want to continue, I want to continue my experience, I want to have fun, I want to continue to dream."