LONDON: Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has become the first player since Cristiano Ronaldo to do the double at the PFA Player of the Year awards.
Bale beat off competition from Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Michael Carrick to win the senior gong for the 2012-13 season.
Suarez’s nominations for both the main award and for the team of the season drew boos from the audience at the Grosvenor Hotel in London’s Mayfair in the wake of his 10-game suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
Bale also took home the Young Player of the Year award, making him only the third player in history to receive both prizes in the same season after Andy Gray (1976-77) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2006-07) .
Bale said: “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.”
Ronaldo took both the young player and the main award in 2007, some 30 years after Andy Gray become the first professional to do so.
Bale won the senior award two seasons ago when he shot to fame with a series of scintillating displays domestically and in the Champions League.
But he has gone on to become an even better player since, transforming himself in to a goal scoring machine that has found the net 29 times for club and country so far this season.
Vote of thanks
The Welshman, whose latest goal came yesterday in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Wigan, dedicated the prize to his team-mates and manager Andre Villas-Boas.
“When you look at the list there are some massive names on it and the other nominees have been unbelievable this year, but I couldn’t have done it without the team,” Bale said.
“They have been fantastic this year and so has the manager. I couldn’t have won it without them so I would like to give them all a big thank you as well.”
Bale had previously spent most of his career deployed on the left wing, but this term he has played more centrally, which he thinks is the reason why he has scored so many times.
“I have been shooting a lot more, and I have been coming inside a lot more too,” he said. “There are a few goals which I enjoyed. The one against Norwich was one of my favourites, and the West Ham one. Those two are my favourites from this season.
“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’s attitude was praised by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor who said:: “Everyone knows Suarez is a great footballer, I just wish at times he could fall in to line because footballers are role models and Gareth and Robin Van Persie are really good examples for the younger generation.”
The Merit award went to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the class of ’92 and their coach at the time Eric Harrison.
Arsenal Ladies midfielder Kim Little won the inaugural Women’s Player of the Year award.
Little, 22, has been a regular at Arsenal since she joined from Hibernian at the age of 16 and last summer was a part of the British Olympic team at London 2012.
This is the first time that the PFA have handed out a women’s award as next year will be the first season that females are allowed to join the organisation.
PFA Player of the Year winners
2012-13: Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
2011-12: Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
2010-11: Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
2009-10: Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)
2008-09: Ryan Giggs (Man Utd)
2007-08: Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)
Bale’s season-by-season Premier League stats
2012-13 (ongoing): Played 29, scored 19, assisted 4
2011-12: Played 36, scored 9, assisted 10
2010-11: Played 30, scored 7, assisted 1
2009-10: Played 23, scored 3, assisted 5
2008-09: Played 16, scored 0, assisted 0
2007-08: Played 8, scored 2, assisted 0
Premier League Team of the Year: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
Championship Team of the Year: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Mark Hudson (Cardiff City), Wayne Bridge (Brighton and Hove Albion), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Thomas Ince (Blackpool), Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City), Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace), Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace), Matej Vydra (Watford).
League One Team of the Year: Wesley Foderingham (Swindon), Simon Francis (Bournemouth), Robert Jones (Doncaster), Harry Maguire (Sheffield United), Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth), Matthew Ritchie (Bournemouth), Luke Murphy (Crewe), Alan Judge (Notts County), David Cotterill (Doncaster), Patrick Madden (Yeovil), Leon Clarke (Coventry).
League Two Team of the Year: Stuart Nelson (Gillingham), Sean Clohessy (Southend), Adam Barrett (Gillingham), Ryan Cresswell (Southend), Joseph Martin (Gillingham), Jacques Maghoma (Burton), Marlon Pack (Cheltenham), Gary Jones (Bradford), Jennison Myrie-Williams (Port Vale), Tom Pope (Port Vale), Jamie Cureton (Exeter).
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