Sofia: Bulgaria's 52-year-old Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, who occasionally takes to the football field for a third-division side, has been voted the country's best footballer of the year, a media report said. Borisov got 44 percent of the vote, well ahead of Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov on 24 percent.

Borisov, who sometimes plays for Vitosha Bistritsa, said the result was a 'protest vote' aimed at highlighing the mediocrity of Bulgarian football and the lack of money in the local game.

“This vote does not shows Borisov is the best footballer but that Bulgarian football needs reforming and to be run differently,” the Prime Minister said in a letter to the survey organisers.

“Football, and sport in Bulgaria in general, face serious challenges,” he said.