PFA Player Of The Year: How Previous Winners Fared After Winning The Award

Tom Roddy

N’Golo Kante was named PFA Player of the Year on Sunday after helping to guide Chelsea to the Premier League summit a year after winning the title with Leicester City.

The industrious midfielder beat teammate Eden Hazard, as well as Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez to the gong, which is voted for by fellow players.

Kante has been a key figure in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea team, which is aiming to win the Double after knocking out Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final.

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After a glorious season, the 26-year-old will be looking to continue his success with Chelsea in the Champions League next year. But how did previous winners fare in the following campaign? Newsweek takes a look over the last decade:

2006-07: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Having made his breakthrough at Old Trafford by scoring 23 goals for Manchester United and winning his first Premier League title at the club, Ronaldo continued his ascent the following year.

The then 22-year-old became only the second player in PFA history to be awarded the gong in consecutive years. Ronaldo excelled not only in England but also in Europe, by scoring United’s only goal in the final of the Champions League, eventually beating Chelsea on penalties. His 46 goals in all competitions that season won Ronaldo his first Ballon d’Or.

2007-08: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

After winning the award for a second time, Ronaldo continued to play an integral role at Manchester United and his battle with Lionel Messi to become the best player in the world intensified. The 2008-09 season was Ronaldo’s last at Old Trafford, before Real Madrid paid a then world-record sum of £80 million (about $103 million) for the Portuguese forward.

In his final year at the club, Ronaldo’s 18 league goals helped Manchester United to another Premier League title. He also played a crucial role in taking the club to the Champions League final for a second consecutive year but struggled to influence the game against Barcelona, as United was beaten at Wembley.

2008-09: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)

After turning 36 the season after winning Player of the Year, Giggs was one of the oldest recipients of the award. And the next season saw him celebrated even more.

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Giggs, who had won 11 Premier League titles, was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2009, surpassed Gary Speed’s record of 535 Premier League games and was also named Manchester United Player of the Decade. Giggs helped United to a League Cup trophy and second in the Premier League, earning him another year on his contract at Old Trafford.

2009-10: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Rooney cemented his place as Manchester United’s superstar following Ronaldo’s departure in the summer of 2009. After being named PFA Player of the Year in 2010, Rooney went on to have another successful year for Alex Ferguson’s team by helping the club to a record 19th league title and another Champions League final.

The outstanding memory from the 2010-11 campaign for Rooney personally, though, will be from February 12, 2011. With the score level at 1-1 in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford, Rooney executed a perfect overhead bicycle kick that beat Joe Hart to win the game.

2010-11: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Then 21 years old, Bale was one of the youngest winners of the PFA award. The following season he continued his impressive form at Tottenham, helping the club to fourth in the Premier League.

Bale was also named in the 2011 UEFA Team of the Year and went on to score 12 times for Spurs in the 2011-12 season, before signing a new four-year deal at White Hart Lane.

N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante at Stamford Bridge, London, October 15, 2016. Kante was named 2016-17 PFA Player of the Year on Sunday. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

2011-12: Robin van Persie (Arsenal)

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A spectacular season at Arsenal that saw Van Persie score 30 goals in the Premier League and be named PFA Player of the year. But there would be no repeat the following season, when he left the club. The Dutchman announced in July 2012 that he would be joining Arsenal’s rival Manchester United instead.

Van Persie continued his prolific form now in the red of United, scoring 30 goals in all competitions for Ferguson’s team. He netted his second hat-trick of the season against Aston Villa on April 22, 2013 to secure the 20th Premier League title for United. Van Persie’s contribution won him the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award and saw him nominated for the Best Player in Europe accolade.

2012-13: Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

Bale becomes the second player on this list to win the PFA award and then leave his club in the summer, in this case to join Real Madrid. The Spanish giant broke the world record transfer fee again by signing Bale from Spurs for £86 million (about $110 million).

The Welshman had a stumbling start to life in La Liga, missing the opening few games of the season due to injury. When he did make his debut, against Villarreal, Bale scored his first goal of 22 that season for Real. The most important came on May 24, 2014, when Bale scored the goal to put his team ahead in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon. Bale and Real went on to win the trophy.

2013-14:  Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

For the third consecutive year, the recipient of the award was sold the following summer. Suarez left Anfield for Camp Nou on July 11, 2014, with Barcelona signing him on a five-year contract.

Suarez’s start to life in Catalonia was stalled by suspension after being found guilty of biting Italian Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup. A four-month suspension meant Suarez didn’t make his debut for Barcelona until October 24, when his team lost El Clasico 3-1 to Real Madrid.

The Uruguayan still had a massive influence that season, scoring 25 goals and 20 assists in all competitions, forming a formidable attacking lineup alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. Suarez scored the second goal in a 3-1 win over Juventus in the final of the Champions League in Berlin.

2014-15: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

From the high of 2015, being named Player of the Year and winning the Premier League with Chelsea, Hazard hit a low the following season. Reports of a falling-out with then-manager Jose Mourinho and a slump in form saw champions Chelsea finish 10th in 2015.

And the Belgian Hazard reflected the significant drop in performance, not scoring a league goal until April 2016, nine months into the season. Hazard still influenced the Premier League title by scoring the goal against Spurs that ended its title hopes and handed the championship to Leicester City.

2015-16: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Like Hazard before him, Mahrez failed to follow-up his spectacular title-winning season at Leicester City in the same way. The Algerian signed a four-year deal at the King Power stadium despite interest from rival clubs and was named BBC African Footballer of the Year for his performances during the previous campaign.

But Mahrez was on the peripheries of Leicester’s season as the club plummeted down the Premier League table. He has scored just five times in the league this year and, before Claudio Ranieri’s sacking, failed to link up with strike partner Jamie Vardy as he had done before.

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