Thibaut Courtois could not resist springing a surprise on Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard as he presented the attacker with the Best Belgian Footballer playing abroad in 2017 award.
Hazard assumed he was being interviewed inside Stamford Bridge by young Belgian Antoine, an Under 11 player at the Royal Stade Brainois, but both he and Courtois had agreed to stage the interview before announcing the forward had won the award.
The trophy is given to the best Belgian player abroad that year and has been won twice previously by Courtois and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
As Eden Hazard couldn’t attend the ceremony yesterday, @hlnsport and @VTMStadion hired two guys to hand over the ‘best Belgian player abroad’. #cfc #goudenschoen @hazardeden10 @thibautcourtois @ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/KuRobXHpg9
— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) February 8, 2018
‘It’s my first trophy in Belgium, but certainly not my last,’ Hazard told journalist Kristof Terreur.
‘I’m aiming to win the World Cup or the European Championships with Belgium. I performed well with the national team.
‘I think that might have made the difference in the votes. I’m happy with the trophy, but it’s not the most important thing. Football is a collective sport. I would like to thank all my team-mates, the manager and also those who’ve helped me in the last year.’
For Hazard it marks his first trophy ever in Belgium having won the Player of the Year award in France twice during his time at Lille and the PFA Player of the Year in 2015 with Chelsea.
The Blues star also received the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2014 and the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award in 2009 and 2010.
Napoli’s Dries Mertens won the most votes in the first half of the year with the Italians continuing to impress in Serie A, while De Bruyne got most in the second half of 2017.
But Hazard was the most regular player. He received enough points in both rounds to claim victory.
The voters consist of a mixture of Belgian journalists, football personalities and former winners.
‘If I was allowed to vote, I would have given it to Dries Mertens because he scored a huge number of goals in 2017 especially since he was played out of position,’ Hazard continued.
‘He wasn’t a striker before, now we know he is one and a very good one. Kevin De Bruyne could have won it for the last four years running with his performances. He received the award for the last two years, so it’s good to have a change.’