Lens and Ivory Coast midfielder Seko Fofana has won the Marc-Vivien Foe award, which is handed to the best African player in France's top flight.
The 27-year-old, once on the books of Manchester City, captains Lens and has scored eight goals in 37 appearances in Ligue 1 this season.
"It's pride, a lot of recognition," said Fofana, who also had a spell on loan at Fulham in 2014.
Lens team-mate and DR Congo forward Gael Kakuta won the award last season.
Fofana claimed 221 points to finish ahead of Rennes and Mali captain Hamari Traore (91 points) while another Rennes defender, Moroccan Nayef Aguerd, finished third (77 points).
"It was close to my heart to win this trophy because it's the Marc-Vivien Foe prize and it reminds me of a lot of things," added Fofana.
"The first time I went to a stadium was when I was young, with my dad. He took me to see the France team play against Turkey and the same day, we learned this sad news [of Foe's death].
"So, when I saw that I was among the finalists, it was close to my heart to win this trophy and that's what happened."
With a 12-man shortlist, Fofana also saw off Paris St-Germain and Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi and Saint-Etienne and Tunisia midfielder Wahbi Khazri.
The award is named in honour of former Lens, West Ham, Manchester City midfielder Foe, who died aged 28 after collapsing on the pitch during a Fifa Confederations Cup game for Cameroon against Colombia in 2003.
Journalists from all branches of the media vote for the prize and it is co-sponsored by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and TV news channel France 24.
Fofana has helped Lens to seventh place in Ligue 1 with one game of the campaign remaining - just two seasons after the club were promoted from the second tier.
The Paris-born player began his senior career at Manchester City, where he did not make a first-team appearance. Following loan moves to Fulham and Bastia, he left for Udinese in 2016 and then joined Lens in 2020.
He has six caps for Ivory Coast, but was not part of the Elephants squad for this year's Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
France 24 described Fofana as "a sharp and decisive player" who has made himself "an indispensable player" for Lens.