Gareth Bale now adds the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award to his trophy cabinet.
He becomes the first Welshman since Everton’s Neville Southall in 1985 to be selected and also the first Tottenham Hotspur player since David Genola in 1999. Manchester United’s Robin van Persie and Chelsea’s Juan Mata came second and third respectively.
“It is a huge honour to receive the Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers’ Association (FWA),” a delighted Bale said.
“It means a lot to win this award when you consider the numbers of players that have been outstanding for their clubs in the Barclays Premier League this season.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be playing in such a fantastic team and I owe a lot to my team- mates and, obviously, the manager who has shown such faith in me.
“This award has been won in the past by some of the greatest names in football and I consider it a privilege that the FWA have selected me to be named alongside them.”
The 23- year- old forward have scored 29 goals for club and country so far, 24 in 40 appearances for Spurs and five in eight games for Wales.
Chairman of the FWA and chief sports writer for the Sunday Mirror Andy Dunn, said:
“In a contest for votes that took so many late twists and turns, Gareth’s penchant for the spectacular captured the imagination.
“He is a player who is rising inexorably towards the rarefied levels of world stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Twice the PFA Player of the Year and now, two months before his 24th birthday, the FWA Footballer of the Year.
“Let’s all hope he lights up the Barclays Premier League for many seasons to come.”
In a pole that saw a 91 percent turn- out from membership, Bale won 53 percent of the votes ahead of Van Persie.
Apart from Bale, Van Persie and Mata, there were a wide range of votes for the likes of Leighton Baines, Pablo Zabaleta, Michu, Michael Carrick and Rickie Lambert.