Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has been named Professional Football Association’s player and young player of the year—becoming only the third player ever to win the double accolade.
The Welsh international has enjoyed a stunning season for Spurs, scoring 24 times in all competition—14 of which have come in his last 17 appearances for the north Londoners.
Bale beat off competition from fellow nominees Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie to win the prestigious award for the second time in three years, joining Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ronaldo who are the only other players to have won the award twice.
The 23-year-old thanked his teammates and manager at a gala ceremony in London, admitting he was “extremely proud” to receive the prestigious honor.
“It’s a massive honour. To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game. It’s great to win it and I am delighted,” said Bale.
“When you look at the list, there are some massive names on it but I couldn’t have done it without the team. They have been fantastic this year and so has the manager.”
“The other nominees have been unbelievable, they have been outstanding for their clubs and it’s a massive moment to win, especially as it’s both awards and it’s something that I’m extremely proud of.”
“The biggest thing is playing for your team and going well. If you do well, then these awards come along. I have been shooting a lot more and I have been coming inside a lot more too. I have a few less assists this year but I am in more scoring positions these days and that has obviously helped my scoring tally as we have seen this season.”
Bale also beat-off competition from Hazard, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke to scoop young player of the year award, becoming only the third player to win the PFA double—Andy Gray (1976-77) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2006-07) are the only other players to have won both awards in the same season.
Wales international Bale joined Tottenham in 2007 in a deal that could rise to $15.5m after coming through the youth ranks at Southampton. Initially bought as a left-back, Bale was switched to midfield by former coach Harry Redknapp and has blossomed there ever since.
However, Bale’s excellent form has seen him linked with a host of suitors home and abroad, and if Spurs fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League many fear he will leave White Hart Lane for greener pastures.