IVANOVIC ACCEPTS ACCOLADE

Branislav Ivanovic has been named Serbia's Player of the Year.

The Chelsea defender was given the Golden Ball award by the Serbian Football Association who have organised the honour for the past eight years.

It comes at the end of a year when Ivanovic has been captain of his national side and helped his club to success in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Ivanovic said: 'This award means a lot to me.

'When you are named the best in your country, it is a reward for everything you have achieved up to now.

'I want to say thanks to my family and all of my team-mates, from my club and the national team. They helped me to get where I am today. Now the onus is on me to maintain this standard and even improve on it.'