Willian Borges da Silva looked happy enough accepting his awards for Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year last night, even getting to tease Eden Hazard for breaking the kid's two-season stranglehold on these trophies before all that ticker tape cascaded back down awkwardly.
And he should no doubt be happy after a career year that has seen him reach double figures in goals for the first time in his career, and for a while, back in the fall, look like a player finally worth all those tens of millions that were spent on him a couple seasons prior. As his seven Man of the Match awards from the WAGNH community over the course of just eight matches attest to, at one point, basically for the entire month of October, he was pretty much carrying the team on his back. Granted, he carried us to just two wins in those seven games, but it was certainly not for a lack of trying on his part.
His influence has faded steadily in the second half of the season, a trend that's concerning given that he wants to play for Brazil in both the Copa America (already called up) and the Rio Olympics (rumored to be one of the three overage players taken). But who's going to tell him no?
"It wouldn't be the first time a player features in both competitions but I'm not worried about it - the club is obliged to give a three-week vacation for every footballer. As I've already said, this is a decision that has to be taken by Chelsea and the Brazilian Football Confederation. I don't want to get involved and end up in the middle of a conflict between them."
This season has been Willian at his peak and he wants to strike while the iron's hot. Plus, success on the international stage just might help drive Chelsea's failures of this season from his mind.
"All I want is to forget about this season. I must confess it hasn't been easy for us. We didn't start well and ended up paying the price for this in the Premier League. We tried to put things right but we weren't able to and we're already thinking about the next season."
-Willian; source: FourFourTwo
Next season will bring a new manager, one who's just as likely to appreciate Willian's two-way game as Mourinho was. With two years left on his original five-year deal, should Willian continue to reprise his best performances and keep up his yearly quota of set piece goals and assists, he should have the opportunity to add plenty more to his almost 150 games played for Chelsea.