LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 4, 2017: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet celebrates with the supporters after the 4-1 victory over West Ham United during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper pulls off rare feat with Belgium’s best player award

Simon Mignolet has been in exceptional form since returning to Belgium with Club Brugge, and has now been awarded the Gouden Schoen award for 2022.

The Gouden Schoen, which translates to Golden Shoe, is awarded to the best player in the Belgian top flight over the calendar year.

Voted for by journalists and pundits, the likes of Vincent Kompany, Axel Witsel and former Liverpool winger Milan Jovanovic have been winners in the past.

On Wednesday night, Mignolet picked up the award in Antwerp, becoming the first goalkeeper to receive the Gouden Schoen since Michel Preud’homme in 1989.

He is only the sixth goalkeeper in the award’s 69-year history to be named the best player in Belgium, and it came as he recorded the biggest-ever lead in the voting.

Mignolet received 684 points, which is 451 more than second-placed Casper Nielsen, who swapped Union SG to become the 34-year-old’s Club Brugge team-mate in July.

It comes after a title-winning campaign in the Belgian First Division A in 2021/22 and an incredible run in the Champions League group stage this season.

Club Brugge progressed from Group B in the tournament after Mignolet kept five clean sheets in six games, including shutouts home and away to Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, USA - Friday, July 19, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet lines-up before a friendly match between Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund at the Notre Dame Stadium on day four of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The club are now managed by Scott Parker, who took over from Carl Hoefkens in December, and currently sit fifth in the Belgian top flight after 22 games.

Mignolet joined Club Brugge after nine years in England in 2019, having spent six of those with Liverpool, departing Anfield in a €9 million deal after dropping to second choice.

“A dream can only become a plan through craftsmanship and hard work,” he wrote on Twitter after receiving his award.

“It’s an honour to be awarded the Gouden Schoen 2022 and become only the sixth goalkeeper in the history of this prize to win it.”