N’Golo Kanté has been voted the 2017 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.
The Chelsea midfielder topped the poll of the 340-strong membership ahead of his Blues team-mate Eden Hazard, with Tottenham’s Dele Alli in third place.
Between them, Kanté and Hazard, who was the 2015 Footballer of the Year, collected more than 65% of the journalists’ votes, which were spread over a record number of 17 different players.
Kanté was instrumental in Leicester’s shock Premier League triumph last season and following his £32m summer switch to west London, the midfielder looks set to collect a second successive championship medal with Chelsea now needing just two more victories to secure the title.
The 26-year-old will receive the prestigious FWA accolade, which has been awarded since 1948, at a gala dinner in London on May 18 when the association marks its 70th anniversary.
“It is a fantastic honour to win this award. With so many great players in this Chelsea squad and in the Premier League, for the Football Writers’ Association of this country to name me as their Footballer of the Year is a very proud moment in my career,” said Kanté, who last month collected the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year trophy.
Five Chelsea players were nominated by FWA members, with David Luiz, Diego Costa and César Azpilicueta also receiving votes.