PFA Player of the Year is N'Golo Kante
The Blues midfielder is finally being recognised but it took almost a decade before people saw his genius
N'Golo Kante has finally been recognised as the individual champion that he has always been by winning the PFA Player of the Year award - but he will remain humble after a decade long battle to get to the top of the game.
His award has come a year too late, but it is better late than never. His former Leicester team-mate Riyad Mahrez won the prestigious trophy and it took an extra year of relentless running, tackling and composed passing to finally catch the eye.
Eden Hazard is unlucky not to have won the award but Kante just edges it because of his unparalleled consistency. His contribution isn't measured in goals and assists, but there is plenty of evidence that he has been integral.
In the past two season, Kante has been number one for tackles with Everton's Idrissa Gueye following closely behind. Kante has more tackles than any other player since he joined the Premier League with 285 and counting.
He only has one goal and one assist in the league but his strike against Manchester United in the FA Cup was crucial too. He is the fifth-highest passer in the Premier League currently with 1,899 passes and an 88.8 per cent pass completion just shows his ability is more than just tackling and defending.
Antonio Conte has developed Kante to be more decisive in the final third and his passing has improved hugely since his £32 million move to west London. He has also had the sixth-most touches of the ball, despite not even being in the top 20 players for minutes on the pitch.
Tackles, passes and touches show that when you watch Chelsea live you will be watching Kante putting in an integral display every time.
His award win is timely, as his side chase a league and cup double. John Terry is set to depart the club in the summer and Kante is the most defensive player to win the award since his club captain did, in 2004–05.
He was perhaps an even less fashionable winner than Terry was that year, who won the honour as he led Chelsea to their first title in 50 years, in what was one of the Premier League's best ever defences.
Many said he was too small - but the size of his determination and character is something that can't be measured. Kante exudes class, even as he hides it behind his shy and humble character.
His talent has finally shone through and Kante's work on the pitch can no longer be ignored. In a game that celebrates cocky strikers, it is refreshing to see a defensive contribution celebrated and long may that continue.
Kante has had to work so hard to become one of the world's best players that there is almost no chance that this success will get to his head. In fact, expect him to get even better as his quiet confidence grows.