Eden Hazard says he voted for Sergio Aguero as the PFA Player of the Year because he is the “most consistent player in the league.”
The award ultimately went to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk for his contribution to the Reds’ bid to take champions Manchester City’s Premier League crown.
Despite scoring 230 goals in 334 games since arriving at City in 2011, Aguero has never won either the PFA or Football Writers’ annual award, and has picked up just one Premier League Golden Boot, in 2014-15 when City finished a distant second to Chelsea.
The Argentinean has netted 29 goals in 43 games this term as City have sparred with Liverpool to defend their crown, and Hazard believes such numbers make him a deserving winner of the footballers’ union’s annual prize.
“Well, sometimes people are playing well for two months and then for the next nine months they disappear, so I try to look for consistency,” said Hazard, writing in Chelsea’s matchday program ahead of the visit of Watford to Stamford Bridge.
“It's better for me to vote for a guy that plays well for a whole season than for a guy who is on fire for two months, but only two months. I don't base it much on how they play when I come up against them but on the whole year.
“I voted for Sergio Aguero, not because he scored a hat-trick against us! He has been playing in the Premier League for eight years now and in that time he is the guy who is always consistent. Sometimes he is injured but when he's on the pitch, he's scoring a lot of goals. So, for me, he is the best.”
Van Dijk has provided the bedrock on which Liverpool have built their bid to land a first league title since 1990.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have conceded just 22 goals in the league over the course of the campaign, representing a significant turnaround in defensive fortunes compared to the manager’s chaotic early days when goals flowed at both ends.
“We can also say Sadio Mane was good, for example, but a lot of players deserve to win – even me!” said Hazard. “Van Dijk, he has had a good season, but it is difficult to say a defender is the best in the league.
“Of course, if he scored 15 or 20 goals, but it doesn't happen for a defender. For me, it is better to vote for a striker or midfielder.”