Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is voted 2017 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.
The Frenchman takes his second individual prize of the campaign having also won the PFA Player of the Year award. He becomes the 18th player in history to win both awards in the same season.
Kante’s Blues team-mate Eden Hazard came second in the voting, with Totttenham’s Dele Alli in third place.
Between them, Kante and Hazard, a winner of the award in 2015, collected more than 65 per cent of the journalists’ votes.
Kante, who will collect his prize at a Gala Dinner in London on 18 May, said: ‘It is a fantastic honour to win this award. With so many great players in this Chelsea squad and in the Premier League, for the Football Writers’ Association of this country to name I as their Footballer of the Year is a very proud moment in my career.’
FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay added: ‘N’Golo Kante could not be a more deserving winner of English football’s most prestigious individual award. In the view of some FWA members, he would have been a worthy recipient last season for his contribution to Leicester’s title success, but the almost unbroken excellent form of Chelsea since he changed clubs has left little room for further debate.
‘Considering the competition of Eden Hazard and others from Chelsea in particular, this is a great achievement.’
Kante has played a pivotal role in the team’s success up until this point after moving to Stamford Bridge from Leicester City last summer.
His high energy levels and ability to win the ball, and distribute it intelligently, in midfield have been integral to the way in which Antonnio Conte wants his team to play, and the 26-year-old has also provided a threat in the attacking third, as his brilliant goals in home matches against Manchester United testify.
In total, five Chelsea players were nominated by FWA members, with defenders Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta, as well as striker Diego Costa, also receiving votes.
Kante is the fourth Chelsea player to win the award, joining Hazard (2015), Frank Lampard (2005) and Gianfranco Zola (1997).