Juan Mata has been crowned Chelsea Player of the Year for the second successive season.
It was a night to remember for the Spaniard as he also picked up the Players’ Player of the Year award.
The club’s annual ceremony, which took place in the Great Hall at Stamford Bridge, was hosted by Ed Chamberlain and Vicky Gomersall from Sky Sports, with five separate prizes handed out.
The main award was voted for by supporters on this website, with Frank Lampard, David Luiz and Eden Hazard making up the final four nominations.
Mata became only the fourth player to retain the trophy, adding his name to a list containing John Hollins, Ray Wilkins and Frank Lampard, and the 25-year-old was understandably delighted.
‘I feel so happy,’ he said. ‘It’s my second season here and winning the trophy two years in a row is amazing for me. I just want to say thank you to all the supporters and all my team-mates.’
He went on to pay tribute to our supporters for their backing in last night’s Europa League final win over Benfica in Amsterdam.
‘Every final, like last season in the Champions League, we felt all the people from Chelsea with us,’ he explained. ‘We did it for them, we scored in the last minute, the best time to score, and we were really happy for them because they’ve been behind us all season.’
Mata was presented with the Player of the Year award by club captain John Terry, who felt the playmaker was a worthy winner.
‘He’s been phenomenal,’ said Terry. ‘It’s not just his goalscoring, it’s his assists as well. He’s fantastic, he brings so much to the team. He’s a magician, he has a great first touch and fantastic vision.’
Earlier in the night, Lampard was presented with a Special Recognition award for the service he has given the club since signing for the Blues in 2001.
The Blues midfielder, who has just signed a one-year contract extension, was presented with the award by Bobby Tambling, the man whose goalscoring record he surpassed last weekend to become our all-time highest scorer.
As Lampard collected his award on stage, he reflected on the brace at Aston Villa which secured his place in the history books.
‘Getting the equalising goal on the day and drawing level with the great man himself was a big deal for me,’ he said. ‘It was such a huge game for us, and I kind of felt it would be the day after scoring the first one.
‘I can’t really explain it. I thought it would be good when I done it, but I didn’t realise quite how good it would feel. To have the fans at Aston Villa and my team-mates celebrating with me at the end was quite emotional for me, so thanks to all the lads.’
Shortly before, Lampard had presented Nathan Ake with the Young Player of the Year award.
It’s been a season of progression for the young Dutchman, who is equally comfortable playing in the centre of defence or in a deep midfield role.
He made his debut for the first team as a late substitute in the Boxing Day win away at Norwich City, before playing the full 90 minutes in February’s FA Cup victory at Middlesbrough.
Ake, who has also featured for both the Under-21s and Under-18s over the course of the season, was then given his first taste of European action when he started our away game against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
The 18-year-old was an unused substitute in last night’s Europa League final win against Benfica, but was simply delighted to be involved.
‘It was really special,’ said the youngster. ‘When you’re 18 and involved in the squad, the Europa League is really big, so it was a great experience for me.’
The first prize of the night was won by Oscar, who picked up the Goal of the Season award for his second goal in the 2-2 Champions League draw against Juventus back in September.
Supporters were given the opportunity to register their vote on this website from a selection of 11 brilliant goals.
The Brazilian, making his first full start for the club, had opened the scoring moments earlier, and doubled our advantage with a sublime strike.
After taking an Ashley Cole pass in his stride, he eased away from two defenders with a deft touch, before bending a wonderful strike beyond the despairing dive of Gianluigi Buffon into the top corner of the net.
You can see a video of the players receiving their awards on the Chelsea TV section of this website.
Chelsea TV will broadcast a highlights show from the event tomorrow at 7.30pm.