Bale credits team-mates for PFA awards
Gareth Bale secures PFA double
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has thanked his team-mates and manager Andre Villas-Boas after being named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award and Young Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season on Sunday.
Bale, 23, pipped Liverpool's Luis Suarez Aston Villa's Christian Benteke to the respective awards, becoming the first person to scoop the double since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007.
The Welsh international reclaimed the Young Player of the Year award he won in 2011, but admits his fellow Tottenham players deserve credit for helping him reach the pinnacle of his career.
"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," Bale said. "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. I couldn't have won it without them so I would like to give them all a big thank you. 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.
"Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez, just to name two have been fantastic. They have been outstanding this season and it's been a great season for everyone to watch. There is still some time to go.
"I always admired players like Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry. I have been watching them since I grew up, watching these games, watching these awards, so to be here now is surreal."
Bale has scored 19 goals and grabbed four assists in 30 Premier League appearances for Tottenham this season, compared to nine goals and ten assists last campaign.
The winger believes Andre Villas-Boas's move to deploy him in a central and more attacking role has paid dividends on the score sheet.
"I've probably done more shooting to be honest! I think I have come inside a lot more," Bale added. "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.
"I don't really look to individual awards. The biggest thing is playing for your team and going well. If you do well then these awards come along. I don't think individual awards are something you strive for, it's just a bonus."
Bale turned to Twitter following the awards ceremony to share his excitement at receiving the accolades, acknowledging the significance of being praised by his fellow professional footballers.
I'm very proud to have won two PFA awards and make the team of the year... twitter.com/GarethBale11/s…— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) April 29, 2013
When it's your fellow pros who vote for the awards, it makes them feel that extra bit more special. Thanks for all the kind tweets!— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) April 29, 2013