Gianfranco Zola and Bruce Buck sing the praises of Chelsea's Eden Hazard

Hazard Dribble - Chelsea v Maribor

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola and club chairman Bruce Buck paid tribute to Eden Hazard at the FWA Player of the Year awards ceremony.

The Football Writers’ Association awards ceremony was held in London on Thursday night and Chelsea star Eden Hazard carried away the top award after being named Player of the Year.

Hazard was named as this year's winner of the award two weeks ago but was unable to attend the ceremony to collect his prize. Reports suggest his absence was due to urgent dental surgery.

The Belgian, who was also recently named PFA Player of the Year, has started every league game so far for the Stamford Bridge outfit. In reaction to accusations of boring football throughout the second half of the season, it can be argued that a team consisting of a player of Hazard's brilliance could not possibly be of boring nature.

It was a successful season for Jose Mourinho's men, winning the Premier League title and Capital One Cup, with Hazard playing an integral role.

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, who scored 80 goals in 312 appearances for the club, praised the 24-year-old as he addressed the audience in midweek.

"I'm delighted to be here to pay tribute to the Football Writer's Player of the Year 2015," said Zola, in quotes carried by Chelsea’s official website.

"It was a privilege for me to receive the award back in 1997 and tonight is about paying tribute to a very young, very talented player, who has won this award, as well as a championship medal this season.

"He’s an exceptional player, one with huge potential. With his skills and ability he’s the type of player supporters want to watch, he’s fantastic.

"His record this year has been exceptional, he’s played 51 games and scored 19 goals. Everybody knows Hazard can do exceptional things with the ball going forward, but what I didn’t know about was his work-rate defensively, which is unbelievable, and I think that’s why he’s become such an instrumental player for Chelsea. It’s a fantastic quality to have and I don’t remember in my time tracking back so much.

"A lot of the credit has to go to Chelsea and Jose (Mourinho) for allowing Hazard to grow into the player he is now. Jose has played a big part, teaching him how to be effective when the opposition have the ball.

"I’m also delighted because he’s another Chelsea player, like me, to win this prestigious award."

Chelsea chairman Buck was then invited on stage to collect the award on account of Hazard not being available, complimenting the player on his temperament and character.

"Franco and Eden are players with many similarities: amazing technique, very professional, surrounded by great team-mates Franco was, and Eden is, able to produce skills with a ball that border on magic," he said.

"In each match, Eden’s opponents batter him and bruise him, but Eden gets up, brushes himself off and plays on. We at Chelsea agree wholeheartedly with your (the FWA’s) selection of Eden as Footballer of the Year.

"When he first came to Chelsea three years ago, we were pretty confident that he would win this award one day and he has asked me to apologise on his behalf for not being here tonight."

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