Hazard named Young Player of Year

Ligue 1 Conforama


Belgian wonderkid Eden Hazard has been named Young Player of the Year. The Lille attacking midfielder marked the occasion by saying he'll stay in northern France despite transfer speculation linking him with a host of top European clubs.

Lille coach Rudi Garcia was heard to joke that the award would mean Real Madrid would come in for Hazard and implored the Spanish giants to wait until 2011.

The talented 18-year-old made his international debut for Les Diables Rouges late last year and has made such an impact that Garcia has made him a first-team regular of late. At Le Havre last Saturday Hazard even kept top scorer Michel Bastos on the bench.

Hazard said: "My Lille contract runs until 2012. I've still got a lot to learn here. We'll see what happens in the future but for now I'm committed to Lille. Recently I said I liked Arsenal and Real Madrid but to play for clubs like Manchester United or Barcelona would already be quite something."

'I have to kick on'

Hazard succeeds Hatem Ben Arfa, then of Lyon now of Marseille, as Young Player of the Year. Ben Arfa's disappointing season on the south coast provides a salutary lesson.

"I have to kick on next season. There'll be more pressure on me and my opponents will know my game much better. If someone had said to me at the beginning of the year that I'd score four goals and play as many minutes, I just wouldn't have believed them. I have had a good first year as a pro."

The other nominees were Etienne Capoue and Moussa Sissoko (both Toulouse) and Loïc Rémy of Nice.

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