Bale scoops PFA award
Spurs star delighted with player prize
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me on Twitter @skysportspeteo. Last Updated: April 18, 2011 9:27am
Bale: Rewarded for fine season
Tottenham star Gareth Bale has been named as the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed an incredible campaign in the Premier League and Champions League this term.
Bale beat six other players to scoop the prestigious award with Arsenal ace Samir Nasri runner up and Manchester City star Carlos Tevez third.
Bale becomes the fourth Welshman to win the prize, following in the footsteps of Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs.
The flying winger has scored seven Premier League goals this season, but his two performances against Inter Milan in the Champions League has established him as one of the best young players in Europe.
Bale netted a sensational hat-trick in the first game against Inter in Italy and almost rescued a point for Spurs from a position when they were down to ten men and trailing 4-0 at half-time.
He followed that up with equally eye-catching, but more significant, performance in the return match at White Hart Lane with a dismantling of Brazilian defender Maicon to set up all three goals in a 3-1 victory that put Spurs on course to finish top of their group.
Bale was delighted to win the award from his fellow peers and paid tribute to his Spurs team-mates for his success this season
"I am more than delighted really," said Bale. "It is a massive award and it is a great honour to receive, especially from other fellow professionals.
"It is a honour really when you look at the names that have won it before and it just makes you go 'wow' really.
"There haven't been too many Welshman to have won the trophy but it is great and it is great for me personally.
"It is a massive award and it is a great honour to receive, especially from other fellow professionals.
Gareth Bale on PFA award Quotes of the week
"And it is not just for me, it is for all my team-mates that have helped me through the season and it is kind of for everyone really."
In the space of 18 months Bale has gone from a fringe player at White Hart Lane, ridiculed for never being part of a winning Spurs team, to one of the most exciting talents in the world and the winger insists he never doubted his talent to be a success.
"I think it is due to a bit of everything really," added Bale.
"At the beginning I wasn't really playing much and I always believed in myself that if I did get a run in the team - which I eventually did - that I would be able to prove what I can do.
"That did happen and I kind of never really looked back from there.
"Playing in a good team with good players definitely helped me a lot and all the boys have been fantastic, the manager has been fantastic, giving me my chance, and it is something I want to improve on."
Referee recognitionWorld Cup final referee Howard Webb won the PFA Merit award and was recognised along for his achievements this year with long-term assistants Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey.
"It came as a bit of a surprise really," said Webb. "It certainly is an honour to be recognised by such an esteemed body as the Professional Footballers' Association. It means an awful lot.
"It is nice that the playing side of the game has taken this opportunity to mark what happened with us last year, the two finals that we did and I am very proud of that fact."