Alexandre Lacazette beats PSG stars to Ligue 1 Player of the Year award
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette headed off competition from a trio of Paris Saint-Germain's title-winning stars, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to be handed Ligue 1's Player of the Year award on Sunday.
Lacazette became the first Frenchman to collect the prize since Yoann Gourcuff in 2009 as he won a vote of his fellow professionals ahead of Ibrahimovic and the Swede's PSG teammates Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore.
The 23-year-old has broken Lyon's club record for goals in a single Ligue 1 campaign with 27 this term to help OL push PSG all the way for the title, which the capital club only secured at the weekend in the penultimate round of matches.
The France international forward's prolific form has naturally sparked interest of a host of clubs with Liverpool among a clutch of big names linked with a summer move for him.
However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has been adamant he will keep hold of his prize asset, and told Canal+ on Saturday: "Whatever the price, we won't let Alexandre Lacazette leave."
But the man himself, who signed a two-year contract extension through to 2018 last September, told media at the awards ceremony in Paris that he did not know whether he would stay at Lyon this summer, adding: "It's a question that will be asked at the end of the season."
Nabil Fekir, who was named Young Player of the Year after an outstanding breakthrough season, is more certain to be at Lyon come August.
The 21-year-old midfielder, who has contributed 13 goals and nine assists to Lyon's cause this season, has been linked to Arsenal but he said he hopes to build on his initial success in the top flight next term in the colours of his current club.
"I don't count on stopping here. I'm an ambitious player," the France international told reporters after beating PSG's Marquinhos, Montpellier's Morgan Sanson and Monaco's Anthony Martial to the prize. "I'm going to try and have a good season to confirm what I have achieved."
Though they did not claim an individual prize, six members of the PSG squad -- Ibrahimovic, Verratti, Pastore, Maxwell, David Luiz and Thiago Silva -- were named in the Team of the Year, while their boss, Laurent Blanc, was named top coach.
Blanc, 49, lost out to Lille's Rene Girard last season despite claiming the Ligue 1 title with a record points tally, but won the poll of his peers this season.
The PSG boss beat Saint-Etienne's Christophe Galtier, Lyon's Hubert Fournier and Guingamp's Jocelyn Gourvennec to the award, and -- having already picked up the Coupe de la Ligue -- could crown his season by beating second divsion Auxerre in the Coupe de France final on May 30 to complete an unprecedented domestic treble.
"I would like to congratulate the other nominees, they also deserved this award because they have had very good seasons with their clubs. I want to share it with my players and thank my staff," Blanc, who also won the award while at Bordeaux in 2008, said in his acceptance speech.
"There is still a Coupe de France to win, so before asking me for holidays, I would like them to ask me for some training sessions ahead of the final."
After a slow start to the season, which saw Marseille and then Lyon emerge as genuine title contenders, PSG pulled clear of their rivals, registering a club record-equalling eighth straight league win at Montpellier on Saturday to clinch the title.
Though the team again failed to get beyond the Champions League quarterfinals, losing out to Barcelona after eliminating Chelsea in the previous round, Blanc's reputation has grown in recent months. Speculation he could lose his job has diminished as PSG club president Nasser Al Khelaifi has increasingly proclaimed his support for his coach.
"Of course he takes a lot of responsibility for our results," PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi told RMC. "We have shown all year long that we are superior in terms of our play, and that is his work. He has shown he knows how to handle the team despite the presence of numerous stars. Today, he can make PSG history as coach."