The Football Writers' Association (FWA) have named N'Golo Kante as their 2017 Footballer of the Year. The tireless Chelsea midfielder saw off competition from former winner Eden Hazard and Tottenham Hotspur linchpin Dele Alli, who came second and third respectively.
It is the second major individual honour to be bestowed upon Kante in recent weeks, with the French international also beating Hazard, Spurs' Harry Kane, Everton forward Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez to the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year Award last month. He is the 18th man to complete such a prestigious double.
"It is a fantastic honour to win this award," Kante said. "With so many great players in this Chelsea squad and in the Premier League, for the Football Writers' Association to name me their Footballer of the Year is a very proud moment in my career."
Kante arrived in English football from Caen in August 2015 and proved influential as Leicester City shocked the sporting world by lifting their maiden top-flight trophy.
His consistently excellent form has only improved since a £30m ($38.8m) summer switch to Chelsea and, barring an extraordinary turn of events, he is now set to become just the ninth player to win Premier League titles with two different clubs.
He will follow Mark Schwarzer as only the second to achieve that feat in successive seasons. The former goalkeeper did it with Chelsea and Leicester in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
"N'Golo Kante could not be a more deserving winner of English football's most prestigious individual award," said FWA chairman Patrick Barclay. "In the view of some FWA members, he would have been a worthy recipient last season for his contribution to Leicester's title success, but the almost unbroken excellent form of Chelsea since he changed clubs has left little room for further debate.
"Considering the competition of Eden Hazard and other players from Chelsea in particular, this is a great achievement."
The FWA revealed that Kante and Hazard polled more than 65% of the votes on the 70th anniversary of the award. 17 players in total garnered at least one, with some of the more surprising recipients including West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster, Swansea City playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and Premier League-bound Brighton & Hove Albion winger Anthony Knockaert.