Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard has been voted as Belgium's 'Best Player Abroad' for 2017, following a year which has seen him win the Premier League, and still relentlessly linked with a move to Real Madrid for what feels like the 14th season in a row.
Despite admitting earlier in the season that Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (who is also Belgian) is the best player in the Premier League, it seems as though the rest of his home nation disagree - although he never actually came out on top in either of the voting rounds.
🏆 The Best Belgian player in a foreign league in 2017: Eden Hazard. His 1st individual trophy in 🇧🇪. Dries Mertens won the 1st voting round in June, Kevin De Bruyne the 2nd round in December. Hazard received overall the most points. #GoudenSchoen @hlnsport @hazardeden10 #cfc pic.twitter.com/IkpmOw0vK2— Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 (@HLNinEngeland) February 7, 2018
According to Kristoff Terreur, Napoli forward Dries Mertens win the first round of voting back in June, fresh off the back of a stellar season in Napoli - during which he was part of the most prolific attacking force in Italy.
The second round went to the previously mentioned De Bruyne in December; which really is no surprise. The Man City playmaker spent the first half of the season on fire - earning plaudits from every pundit who received enough airtime to flatter the former Chelsea midfielder.
However, it appears that Hazard has come out as the overall victor; a player who has spent the year consistently pulling out top level performances under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
It was narrow, though. Hazard only received 11 more votes than De Bruyne, who received 315 to the eventual winner's 326. After winning the first round of votes, it seems that Belgium forgot that Mertens exists (despite currently sitting on top of Serie A). The Napoli striker finished on a measly 270 votes - 45 behind De Bruyne.
Finally, this accolade is actually more prestigious than one might initially think. Let's face it, all of Belgium's best talent is abroad; so, really, Hazard has just been crowned as 'Best Belgian Player'.