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Player of the Season: Mateo Kovacic

Mateo Kovacic has been chosen by fans as the winner of the 2019/20 Chelsea men's team Player of the Season award, presented by Yokohama Tyres.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the club's annual awards are being unveiled exclusively online rather than at the usual ceremony dinner. Following the conclusion of the season, supporters cast their votes and today's series of announcements culminates with Kovacic revealed as our men’s winner.

He will be presented with the trophy at Cobham having topped the voting after an outstanding 2019/20. He was a key member of our midfield in his first season as a fully-fledged Blue, having made his loan move from Real Madrid a permanent switch to Stamford Bridge last summer.

Only two players made more than Kovacic’s 47 appearances over the course of the season, a fact made even more impressive by the fierce competition for places and frequent rotation in midfield. He also scored his first two goals for the club, both low drives from the edge of the box, in consecutive weeks in November against Valencia and Everton.

Over the course of the campaign the Austrian-born Croatia international seemed to have a telepathic understanding with his team-mates, whoever he was playing alongside in midfield, whether as part of a central three or a deep-lying pair.

He began the season in fine form, starting seven of our first eight matches, and even when left out of the line-up as part of Frank Lampard’s rotation, he still managed to make his mark, with his impact from the bench key in helping us break down a stubborn Newcastle side at Stamford Bridge in October.

It was as we entered the winter that it really became clear how important a player Kovacic was going to be for our season, though, as his precise passing, reading of the game and strong pressing allowed him to dictate the tempo of matches, while his bursts forward carrying the ball from midfield launched countless attacks.

As well as beginning moves, Kovacic has also been helping to finish them, addressing one of the criticisms he faced in his first season in England. In addition to his first two goals he also provided three assists, including one delightful pass to tee-up N’Golo Kante against Manchester City in late November, and he was high up the list in terms of chances created, only behind Willian and Mason Mount for Chelsea when the season was paused during lockdown.

The man wearing our number 17 shirt did his popularity no harm with two stand-out performances against London rivals Tottenham in the Premier League either side of Christmas, and looked likely to be a big miss for Lampard when he limped off with an injury during our FA Cup win over Liverpool in March.

However, the timing of lockdown meant Kovacic was unavailable for just one match, returning from his Achilles problem in time to be named in the starting line-up for our first game when football resumed in June, helping us to make it a winning restart against Aston Villa.

Another injury suffered at the start of July forced him to sit out a couple of games, but when he returned it was in arguably his best form yet for Chelsea.

He started all of our last six games in all competitions, and his performances helped us secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final.

Chelsea Player of the Year winners

1967 - Peter Bonetti

1968 - Charlie Cooke

1969 - David Webb

1970 - John Hollins

1971 - John Hollins

1972 - David Webb

1973 - Peter Osgood

1974 - Gary Locke

1975 - Charlie Cooke

1976 - Ray Wilkins

1977 - Ray Wilkins

1978 - Micky Droy

1979 - Tommy Langley

1980 - Clive Walker

1981 - Petar Borota

1982 - Mike Fillery

1983 - Joey Jones

1984 - Pat Nevin

1985 - David Speedie

1986 - Eddie Niedzwiecki

1987 - Pat Nevin

1988 - Tony Dorigo

1989 - Graham Roberts

1990 - Ken Monkou

1991 - Andy Townsend

1992 - Paul Elliott

1993 - Frank Sinclair

1994 - Steve Clarke

1995 - Erland Johnsen

1996 - Ruud Gullit

1997 - Mark Hughes

1998 - Dennis Wise

1999 - Gianfranco Zola

2000 - Dennis Wise

2001 - John Terry

2002 - Carlo Cudicini

2003 - Gianfranco Zola

2004 - Frank Lampard

2005 - Frank Lampard

2006 - John Terry

2007 - Michael Essien

2008 - Joe Cole

2009 - Frank Lampard

2010 - Didier Drogba

2011 - Petr Cech

2012 - Juan Mata

2013 - Juan Mata

2014 - Eden Hazard

2015 - Eden Hazard

2016 - Willian

2017 - Eden Hazard

2018 - N'Golo Kante

2019 - Eden Hazard

2020 - Mateo Kovacic

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