It’s hard to ignore the fact that four of the top five players in this year’s Belgian Footballer Abroad award voting were all at one point were Chelsea players. The master plan almost worked!
But beyond that lamentation, congratulations are in order to the best of those four, Eden Hazard, who won the Golden Shoe as the best Belgian footballer playing outside of Belgium. This award is decided using two round of voting, one in June and another in December, and even though Hazard did not win either of them, he was more consistent than Mertens (who had a career year last year for Napoli) and De Bruyne (who’s been stellar for much of this season).
The Best Belgian player in a foreign league in 2017: Eden Hazard. His 1st individual trophy in . Dries Mertens won the 1st voting round in June, Kevin De Bruyne the 2nd round in December. Hazard received overall the most points. #GoudenSchoen @hlnsport @hazardeden10 #cfc pic.twitter.com/IkpmOw0vK2— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) February 7, 2018
It was a very close race between Hazard and De Bruyne, but Eden prevailed by a narrow 11-point margin. Rather unbelievably, it’s the first time Hazard has won this award, with De Bruyne winning each of the past two seasons. And Eden even had a broken ankle for part of the year!
- Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 326
- Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) 315
- Dries Mertens (Napoli) 270
- Romelu Lukaku (Everton / Manchester United) 126
- Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) 29
Hazard’s award was hand-delivered by Courtois (another two-time winner) at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, with Eden’s obligations with Nike keeping him away from the gala.
“It’s my first prize in Belgium, but certainly not my last. A world title. A [European Championship]. I would also like to give my country collective prizes.”
-Eden Hazard; source: HLN via Google Translate