Gareth Bale has been voted Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has enjoyed a sensational season for the White Hart Lane club, scoring 19 goals and assisting nine more in 29 Premier League appearances. This has helped Spurs compete for a successive top-four finish, although their battle with Arsenal and Chelsea for the two remaining spots looks set to go to the wire.
Bale was last week named as the PFA Player of the Year and also their Young Player of the Year, and he has now been honoured by the FWA to complete a clean sweep of accolades. The 23-year-old picked up 53% of the votes to beat off competition from Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, with Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata finishing in third place.
Other players who earned the nod from journalists included Swansea City forward Michu, Everton fullback Leighton Baines, Manchester City’s versatile Pablo Zabaleta, and Southampton striker Rickie Lambert. However, there have been several tweets which suggest Liverpool’s controversial Uruguayan ace Luis Suarez received just two votes.
Bale, who is the first Tottenham player to win the award since former France international David Ginola way back in 1999, said: “I have 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 by some of the greatest names in football and I consider it a privilege that the FWA has selected me to be named alongside them.”
Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas claims the Wales international will not be sold during the summer window, amidst constant speculation that the likes of the two Manchester clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid are preparing bids for his signature. Even if Spurs fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the Spurs coach is confident he will keep his star player.
“The information that I have from the club, is that the player is here to remain, independent of the objectives of Champions League qualification being achieved or not,” said the Portuguese. “I would be extremely surprised (if he left). In football anything can happen. It’s impossible to predict, but this is the assurance I have had from the club.