The football season, much like a school year, goes from summer to spring and thus defines our thinking when it comes to planning or recognition. But much of the rest of human existence is framed by the passing of solar calendar years, defined by the position of the Sun relative to the stars, and commonly starting on January 1 and ending on December 31. So when the rest of the world gives out awards, they tend to do so at the end of the calendar year.
So is the case for Belgium’s Sportsman of the Year award, which was given to Eden Hazard last night. Surprisingly, this is the very first time Hazard has won this award — it’s even more surprising if we consider that it’s only the third time a footballer has won this award, but Thibaut Courtois (2014) and Kevin De Bruyne (2015) had beaten Hazard to the honor already!
Belgium’s Sportsman of the Year 2018 has been announced a few seconds ago: it’s Eden Hazard.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) December 22, 2018
Third football player to receive the award after Thibaut Courtois (2014) and Kevin De Bruyne (2015).#cfc pic.twitter.com/0zhQVLoY2T
It’s easy to be cynical about this recognition given Chelsea’s disappointing 1-0 loss at home to Leicester City last night, but Hazard had himself an excellent 2018 calendar year, winning the FA Cup with Chelsea in May (scoring the only goal of the game), and captaining the Belgium national football team to third in Russia, their best ever finish at a World Cup. He’s notched 19 goals (10 this season, 9 the second half of last season) and 13 assists (9+4) for Chelsea in the last twelve months, adding 6 goals and 5 assists for the national team (3+2 in the World Cup alone) — if only he could’ve made that 20 total goals for Chelsea last night instead of crashing his open shot against the crossbar!
All-in-all, an excellent year for Eden, and one that maybe he will celebrate by signing a new deal at Chelsea?