As the Western world flips their calendars from 2017 to 2018, we tend to take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments, trials, and tribulations of the past 12 months and make resolutions for the next 12. As far as football is concerned however, the 12-month period that runs from summer-to-summer is the 12-month period that truly matters, be that for trophies, awards, or contracts. Unless you’re Spurs, who like to boast about winning lots of points and scoring lots of goals in a calendar year, but without actually accomplishing anything.
But two players recently won individual recognition of the yearly kind, which we probably shouldn’t ignore even if they’re not the Ballon d’Or (yet?).
Last week, N’Golo Kante was named the French Player of the Year by France Football magazine. Normally, a magazine’s award would not matter too much, but this is the same outfit who decide the Ballon d’Or, so perhaps it does carry a bit more weight. Kante had already been recognized as Player of the Year by the French PFA back in May. Then, as now, he pipped Antoine Griezmann to the award.
Le sommaire du nouveau numéro de France Football avec N'Golo Kanté élu joueur français de l'année https://t.co/42tLe93XzJ— France Football (@francefootball) December 26, 2017
The one place where yearly awards make a bit more sense is in national team setups, since their seasons aren’t necessarily defined alongside the traditional fall-spring club season. Devil of the Year is what the Belgian national team call their version of this award, and 2017’s Devil of the Year is the devilish Eden Hazard.
Both Kante and Hazard had won plenty of end of season individual awards as well, so it’s not all that surprising that they’d collect the end of year versions, too.
Still, congratulations are in order. Well done!