Wednesday, May 1, 2013

English Premier League top-player awards handed out

Midfielder Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur was named the player of the year in the English Premier League  this season. The voting was done by the PFA (English Professional Footballers' Association) and the 23-year-old international from Wales was also elected as the league’s young player of the year by his peers. He becomes the third player in league history to win both awards in the same campaign. The others were Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Gray.

The award isn’t anything new to Bale as he was also named the player of the year in the 2011 season. He was third in league scoring when the award was announced with 19 goals this season. Robin van Persie was leading the league with 25 while striker Luis Suarez of Liverpool was second with 23 goals. Bale said it’s a huge honor to be recognized by his fellow players and he’s delighted to have earned their respect. He also thanked his teammates and manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Bale combines excellent speed, ball handling, agility, passing, and finishing in his game and has been more successful this season after moving to central midfield from the left wing. Other players on the ballot for the player of the year trophy were Van Persie, Suarez, Michael Carrick of Manchester United, and Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, both of Chelsea. The win also means Bale is just the fifth Premier League player to win the award twice. The others were Ronaldo, Mark Hughes, Thierry Henry, and Alan Shearer.

The only problem with Bale winning the award again is that several other big European teams would like to have him. This means Tottenham should prepare themselves for numerous bids to buy him, especially if Tottenham fails to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season and doesn’t qualify for next season’s European Champions League.

The Premier League’s team of the year was also announced and it consists of Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen, Everton defender Leighton Baines, Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez and Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie.

While Bale was being honored at the awards ceremony, Suarez was actually booed by his fellow players. The Uruguayan international is obviously admired as a soccer player, but his peers are getting tired of his on-field antics. He was recently suspended again for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and has now earned several bans during his career. His latest indiscretion earned him a 10-game suspension. He was also banned seven games in 2010 for biting a player and served and eight-game ban in 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Suarez is still under contract to Liverpool for three more years, but could possibly be released by the historic club if he causes any more trouble. However, the team said it will keep rather than sell him and is hoping that his fellow players and the fans don’t hound him out of the league.

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