April 24 – Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante was named the PFA Player of the Year at an awards dinner in London on Sunday. He held off competition from fellow Chelsea player Eden Hazard and Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
After Chelsea’s 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win against Tottenham, Hazard had jokingly said he would not disappointed if he didn’t win. “No, but if I get it, I will invite N’ Golo to come to me with the stage,” said Hazard. “So, we can divide it with two.”
There was no need to do so for the Belgian. Kante, 26, won the award after being on the shortlist of six. Last season Riyad Mahrez won the PFA prize as Leicester City stormed to the league title. Kante played no small part in that fairytale campaign.
The Frenchman has also been instrumental for Chelsea, transforming a team that finished 10th in the Premier League last season. The all-round, high-energy player is the cog of the London club’s midfield. Kante has made more interceptions in the past two seasons than any other player. He has only missed one game this season through suspension.
“It’s a huge honour to be chosen by the other players,” said Kante when accepting the award. “It’s really special to get this award. My first two seasons have been very beautiful. We have to finish well but so far it’s a very good season.”
The France international edged out competition from Hazard, winner of the award in 2014-15, Ibrahimovic, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, whose is the league’s current top scorer, and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
If Chelsea go on to win the league, Kante will the first player in the Premier League to win the title with different clubs in successive seasons.
Tottenham’s Dele Alli picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze won the women’s player of the year award for a second time. Birmingham’s Jess Carter topped the voting in the women’s young player category.
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