Lyon's Malouda wins Player of the Year, Houllier claims manager's honor

Florent Malouda, who scored eight league goals and helped Lyon to a sixth straight title, was selected as the French league's Player of the Year on Sunday by his fellow professionals.

Malouda follows teammate Juninho, who won it last year, and beat out Sweden forward Johan Elmander of Toulouse, Lille winger Abdul Kader Keita and Lens midfielder Seydou Keita for the honor by the UNFP - the French players union.

Lyon coach Gerard Houllier was chosen as the best manager, and Marseille midfielder Samir Nasri received an award from Zinedine Zidane as the league's best young player.

"A trophy in a team sport rewards the whole club," Houllier told Canal Plus television. "But I especially want to thank the players. A coach only wins if he has good players."

Lyon cruised to the title, and - with one round remaining - is 17 points ahead of second-placed Marseille.

The 19-year-old Nasri made his France debut against Austria in March, and is considered by many as Zidane's successor for Les Bleus.

Sochaux's Teddy Richert was chosen best goalkeeper, while Saint-Etienne's Brazilian forward Ilan was honor for the goal of the year award for his bicycle kick against Paris Saint-Germain.

Zidane was given an honorary award for his services to soccer.

"It's a joy for me because it's without doubt the last one (trophy) I'll receive," Zidane said.

He helped France win the 1998 World Cup, scoring twice in the final against Brazil, and the 2000 European Championship.

After scoring a penalty in last year's World Cup final, Zidane was sent off in extra time for headbutting Marco Materazzi. Italy prevailed over France on penalties.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova