The Professional Footballer’s Association has named Chelsea winger Eden Hazard the Player Of The Year. The Belgian has scored 13 goals and created 8 assists in the Premier League this year, and is one of the chief reasons that Chelsea are heading towards winning the league title.
Last year Hazard was awarded the Young Player Of The Year award – a gong taken by Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane this time around – and he was delighted to take the main prize this year.
“I’m very happy”, he said. “One day I want to be the best and what I did this season is play very well”.
The midfielder’s fellow professionals vote on the Player Of The Year award, and being the recipient of it left Hazard feeling humbled. He said, “I don’t know if I deserve to win but it is good for me. It is better to be voted by the players [as] they know everything about football.
Alan Shearer, the ex-Newcastle United forward and now a pundit for the BBC, believes that the Belgian will keep getting better. In a blog for the broadcaster Shearer wrote, “Wrapping up the league title with Chelsea will still be what matters most to Hazard this season. But being voted PFA Player Of The Year will mean a lot to him too”.
Shearer continued, “The bad news for Chelsea’s rivals is that, at 24, Hazard is only going to get better. In 3 or 4 years, I think we could be talking about the Belgian being the best player in the world – he has the potential to be that good”.
It’s Hazard’s consistency for the Blues that Shearer thinks is what has earned him the gong from his fellow professionals. Diego Costa might have been banging the goals in throughout the season, but his injuries meant he hasn’t sustained that form. Hazard, meanwhile, has created the most goal-scoring chances in the league and attempted and completed the most dribbles, too.
While Hazard took the personal accolade at the PFA event, the Chelsea team’s sterling season was also recognised when the PFA Team Of The Year was announced. Costa and Hazard both featured in the attacking part of the team, but the Blues also dominated the defence.
Nemanja Matic, Chelsea’s defensive midfield rock, was in the centre of the Team Of The Year, with Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry and Gary Cahill all lining up at the back.
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was also honoured at the event when he and Steven Gerrard were jointly presented with the PFA Merit Award. Both players are off to play Major League Soccer in the summer and have collected 220 England caps between them. But it was the current Chelsea crop who were the toast of the town, with the Belgian winger taking all of the accolades.