Eden Hazard has offered his backing to Chelsea teammate Juan Mata to be named the Premier League's Player of the Year as the Spaniard continues to flourish at Stamford Bridge.
Mata has scored 18 goals in all competitions for Chelsea this campaign, while the 24-year-old as also contributed 31 assists, and has played a prominent role in ensuring the Blues are still competition for two trophies at the business end of the season.
Chelsea may be out of the running in the Premier League, but the west London club remain in the hunt for an FA Cup and Europa League double, and Mata has scored six times in the two competitions so far this term.
Mata and Hazard have been combining expertly for Chelsea in recent weeks as the Blues push for glory, and the latter has extolled the virtues of his Stamford Bridge teammate as the season heads towards its conclusion.
"It’s a pleasure to play alongside Juan. He’s one of the best footballers in the Premier League," Hazard said, as reported by the Daily Star.
"He has that ability to see and make the pass that others wouldn’t and sees it faster than others.
"He deserves to be the Player of the Year. Definitely. There are others who have performed very well this season but he’s my colleague, so I would back him."
Gareth Bale is the favourite with the bookmakers to win the coveted Player of the Year award, while Luis Suarez of Liverpool and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie are also listed among the top contenders.