EDEN HAZARD has told his fellow professionals: Forget about me – and make N’Golo Kante Player of the Year.
Chelsea talisman Hazard insists Kante has helped him recapture his best form this season to inspire Antonio Conte’s side to the top of the Premier League.
He and club-mate Kante are on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award. The pair are also among the favourites for the Footballer of the Year crown.
But Belgium ace Hazard believes midfielder Kante, who helped Leicester to a fairytale title win last season, deserves the accolades more than him.
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The 26-year-old also acclaimed boss Conte for improving his game following a lacklustre spell last season.
And Hazard, who is set to face Manchester United today, said he does not mind getting kicked by opponents – as it proves he is on form.
He said: “I want to be voted Player of the Year, but I think N’Golo Kante should get the trophy. Top goalscorers should not get all the prizes.
“N’Golo deserved the award last season, and he deserves it once again. His performances have helped me return to my best level. Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso have contributed a lot as well.
“They enable me to do less defending, as Alonso and N’Golo cover for me. Diego Costa has got his goalscoring flair back, and Pedro has adapted well to his new role.
“The team has more balance, and we are all improved.
“A lot of players have had good seasons. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has arrived in the Premier League aged 35, everyone thought he would struggle but he is scoring every week.
“Romelu Lukaku has hopes of finishing the Premier League’s top scorer, and he could deserve the award as well.
“I see a lot of similarities now with my best-ever season in 2014-15. I have equalled my goalscoring record, with 14, and have seven games left to break it.
“It’s impossible to say if I am better now. But I am enjoying myself on the pitch, we are winning and top of the league – what more could I ask for?
“When I attack I am in front of goal more quickly. In the past I was more often on the wing, other teams knew what I would do and I would be faced by two or three opponents.
“I also profit from the fact opposing defenders have to watch out for Diego and our other strikers. The team is playing well, and that is not down to chance.
“We work very hard under Conte, an we are reaping the rewards.
“I have taken knocks on the field since I began playing. It is down to my style of play.
“I’ve never complained, and I will continue this way. Football is a contact sport, and if I moaned all the time I would break up the rhythm of matches.
“It is a good sign if I get kicked. It proves that I’m getting a lot of the ball and playing well.”
Hazard also advised his compatriot Michy Batshuayi to quit Stamford Bridge if the striker fails to win a regular first-team place in the near future.
The Blues paid Marseille £28million for the 23-year-old last summer, but he has struggled to break into Conte’s side.
Hazard told La Derniere Heure: “I would give Michy the same advice as I would to any player lacking game time – you’ve got to play!
“He has to try to play more matches for Chelsea, or else find another club where he can bounce back.
“Since he arrived Diego Costa has scored a lot of goals, and this has limited Michy’s chances.
“He is finding it difficult to live with. He had a great year with Marseille, and he is following it with a season where he is not playing or scoring.
“It will serve as a lesson for him. I get on very well with him, and hope he can rediscover the pleasure of playing and scoring.
“He is a great striker inside the penalty area.”