Thorgan Hazard wins Player of the Year
Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea's Eden, has been named as Professional Footballer of the Year in Belgium.
The accolade is voted by all players from the 16 clubs in Belgium's top flight. Hazard, on loan from Chelsea at Zulte-Waregem, held off Standard's Michy Batshuayi and Lokeren's Hans Vanaken.
"It is a special honour to be chosen by your colleagues as best player of the season," Hazard said. "I am proud to be on the same list as Bacca (Carlos, who won the prize last year and now plays for Sevilla) and Peresic (winner in 2011, now at Wolfsburg).
"There was some stiff competition. Batshuayi and (Hamdi) Harbaoui can't stop scoring. (Maxime) Lestienne is a top player and Vanaken was impressive. I am really proud."
Hazard, 21, was bought by Chelsea from Ligue 1 club Lens in 2012 and loaned out straight away to Zulte-Waregem.
He made a big impact at his loan club, helping them to a second place finish in 2013, with the season decided after a high octane, last day match against eventual league winners Anderlecht.
Despite interest from Anderlecht and Genk, Hazard decided to go back to Zulte-Waregem for another year. Once again, he made his presence count, orchestrating their attack and scoring 14 goals. The club will end the season in fourth, after a loss to Anderlecht on Thursday, in a game that was watched by Jose Mourinho.
It is Hazard's third individual prize in two seasons in Belgium, having earlier claimed Young Player of the Year in 2013 and the Golden Shoe for the same year.
Where he will play next season remains to be seen. He wants to prove himself at Chelsea, but there is also talk of interest from other clubs in Europe, including Liverpool and Schalke.
Hazard was widely expected to be part of Belgium's squad for the World Cup but was placed on the reserves list by national coach Marc Wilmots.