Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has admitted it felt 'unbelievable' to be crowned PFA Player of the Year at Sunday's awards ceremony.
Van Persie beat off competition from Manchester City trio Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Joe Hart, Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to take the honour after scoring 27 goals in the Premier League this season.
It has been a remarkable journey for the Dutchman since he joined the Gunners from Feyenoord in 2004 for a fee in the region of £3million.
Van Persie admits he was thrilled just to get the opportunity to play for such a club after rejecting Ruud Gullit's pleas for him to stay in Holland, and is now amazed to have been recognised by his peers as the best player in the league.
"I can't believe it. It is a massive dream to be standing here," he said as he accepted the coveted prize.
"Eight years ago I came from Holland. Ruud Gullit was actually on the phone asking me to stay at Feyenood because he was becoming the new manager.
"I ended up at Arsenal, which was a dream come true, and I just can't believe that I'm standing here today."
David Dein was Arsenal's vice-chairman at the time of Van Persie's arrival and he hopes the striker will stay at the club for another few years despite being linked with a move elsewhere.
"There was a lot of competition at the time and we are very fortunate he signed for us. I was delighted and he has proved the point because he has been such a prolific goalscorer for the club," said Dein.
"He plays with passion, he plays with his heart and, as you heard in his speech, he is a very modest guy.
"He has done a great job for the club and the fact that he has stayed with the club all this time, when he has had plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere, says a lot about Robin's character."
Asked if he thought Van Persie would remain at Arsenal, Dein said: "I hope so because he is very important to the club and it is not every day you can get a guy who can score over 30 goals in a season."