Leeds United legend Lucas Radebe said he was a "proud" man after landing a prestigious honour at the Professional Footballers' Association's annual awards night.
The former South Africa and United captain, 41, won the PFA Merit award at last night's ceremony.
Radebe, who played more than 250 times for Leeds and was nicknamed the Chief by United followers, said: "I'm very proud to get such a great award.
"Sport can change the world – football has played such a big part in lifting my community."
Another former United man was also recognised as midfielder James Milner, of Aston Villa, was named Young Player of the Year. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney – who picked up the Player of the Year award – had also been nominated.
Milner, from Horsforth, appears to have played himself into Fabio Capello's World Cup squad with a string of stellar performances and the 24-year-old credited a change in position for his success this season.
"I've been moved into the middle and that suits me as it helps me influence the game a bit more," said Milner.
"Maybe sometimes wide right you want to influence the game but you just can't get yourself into it."
Current United stars Patrick Kisnorbo and Robert Snodgrass were named in the League One team of the year, which also included ex-Elland Road men Frazer Richardson and Ian Harte.