Barcelona target Luan follows in Neymar's footsteps with South American Footballer of the Year award

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The 24-year-old has been rewarded for a brilliant 2017 that included glory in the Copa Libertadores and a call-up to the Brazil team

Gremio star Luan capped a fantastic year by picking up the prestigious South American Footballer of the Year award on Sunday. 

The 24-year-old forward was a key part of Gremio's march toward the 2017 Copa Libertadores title, scoring in the final to help dispatch Lanus 3-1 on aggregate. 

In all he scored eight goals in the Libertadores run, behind only Jose Sand and enough to catch the eye of Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal in Europe. 

Now Luan has followed a host of illustrious compatriots in earning El Pais' prize for the best player on the continent. 

No less than 188 journalists from across South America voted for the star, making him the overwhelming winner. 

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Flamengo's Peruvian hitman Paolo Guerrero was a distant second, while Luan's Gremio team-mate Arthur Melo completed the podium in third. 

Luan also becomes the first Brazilian to win the award since Ronaldinho triumphed in 2013.

He joins a long list of superstar compatriots who have enjoyed the honour: previous winners include Neymar - who lifted the award in 2011 and 2012 at Santos - Romario, Zico and Pele. 

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