Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has said he would not have voted for Gareth Bale as last season's Player of the Year and that such awards should go to those who help their team to the title.
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Bale, 24, enjoyed a superb 2012-13 season at Tottenham before moving to Real Madrid in the summer, landing the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards as well as being recognised by the Football Writers’ Association.
But when asked about Eden Hazard's chances of replicating the Wales international’s achievements this season, Mourinho expressed his surprise at Bale’s success.
"I always say that individual awards should be for the winners, that’s always my feeling,” he said. “I think last year happened to Gareth and not a Man United player because Gareth was really more than special, he had a fabulous season.
“But normally individual awards are a consequence of collective work, a consequence of the team's big award. I don’t vote, but if I vote I always vote for a player that belongs to the champions -- the most preeminent player in the team that wins the league.
“I think what happened to Gareth, in my opinion, was something out of the way I understand football. So for me they should wait to see the champion. I think football is about teams, it’s not about players, it’s about teams.
“And I think when a player from the champions gets the award, it’s normal because the biggest award is the title. So I think they should be waiting for the champion, and maybe to wait for the champion you have to wait for the last game [before the votes are cast]."
Speaking about Hazard, who scored a hat trick in Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat of Newcastle on Saturday, Mourinho said the Belgium international’s stable lifestyle off the pitch had helped his impressive form.
"Off the pitch, it’s a tremendous young guy, a very special guy,” he said. “So young and such a family boy, and married with kids, with a family -- without these things that normally this generation wants to do and likes to do outside the job. And he’s completely stabilised, a stable boy."