Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2016-17 season.
The Frenchman secured the most votes from his fellow players and saw off competition from team-mate Eden Hazard, who won the prize in 2015, and Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku of Everton, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
Kante has enjoyed another outstanding season and is on course to win a second successive Premier League crown after also playing a key role in Leicester’s stunning title triumph last year following his move from Caen.
The 26-year-old, who joined Chelsea for £32m in the summer, was presented with the award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday evening.
“To be chosen by the players to be player of the year means a lot to me,” Kante said.
“It means the world to be chosen and it’s been two beautiful seasons, one with Leicester, and we are in good form with Chelsea. To be player of the year, it’s a great honour.”
On his move from Leicester to Stamford Bridge, Kante added: “It’s a different type of playing, but with the manager, with the players, everything is easy, because we work a lot to be good in the games. It’s working very well.”
Kante praised the “winning mentality” of Antonio Conte and said Chelsea must continue to fight if they are to secure the Premier League title.
“He [Conte] knows what he wants from the players,” he said. “He wants to win, and we work very, very, very hard in training for him. He put a winning mentality into the squad, and everyone wants to give their best for the team, and to make Chelsea win titles.
“We have to fight for six more games. We’re going to fight like a final for every game, and hopefully we can win the league at the end of the season.”
Chelsea will also face Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 27 and, on talk of a double, he said: “We’re going to fight for both competitions. The cup is just one game, and the league six games, and we’re going to give our best to win these two competitions.”
Kante, who could become the first player to win successive titles with different clubs in England since Eric Cantona in 1992 and 1993, has scored just one Premier League goal this season but he has been vital in Chelsea’s charge to the top of the table and the FA Cup final.