Skip to main content

Award-winner Bale destined for greatness?

updated 9:14 AM EDT, Mon April 29, 2013
Tottenham Hotspurs' Gareth Bale was also named Player of the Year in 2011.
Tottenham Hotspurs' Gareth Bale was also named Player of the Year in 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gareth Bale wins the PFA Player of the Year & Young Player of the Year
  • The Tottenham Hotspur winger is the third player to win both awards
  • The Welshman has scored 19 Premier League goals so far this season
  • Tottenham are fifth in the English Premier League with four games remaining

(CNN) -- it is common knowledge that Gareth Bale is a gifted footballer. But just how good is he?

"He will eventually work himself into the top one or two players in the world, he's that good," Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel told CNN. "The future is in his hands."

On Sunday, Bale swept the boards at an annual award ceremony held by English Professional Footballers' Association.

The Tottenham Hotspur star was voted as both the Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year honors by his fellow professionals, becoming only the third man to do so.

Read: Spurs drop points in Euro bid

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo won both awards in 2007 while playing for Manchester United and Bale is now being compared to the Portuguese attacker and Barcelona's four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

"He's a great professional, he works at his game every day.," added Friedel, speaking ahead of the award ceremony. "On top of that he's a very humble and good kid. He's a great servant to the game."

According to teammate Mousa Dembele, what makes Bale so talented is his ability to make match-winning contributions.

"He's an unbelievable player," said Dembele of the Welsh winger. "Everybody can see he's top class, and he can make the difference for us every game."

Dembele, who arrived at Tottenham following a high-profile move from Fulham at the start of the season, believes Bale is one of the best players on the planet.

Friedel: 'Bale can be world's best'
CNN Football Club: German giants rise
Aston Villa or Sharon Stone?
Ferrer: Spain can win 2014 World Cup

Read: Brazil's shaky answer to the vuvuzela

And the Belgium international, who has impressed during his debut campaign at White Hart Lane, believes Bale is key to his club's chances of challenging the elite of European football.

"Everybody has a different style, but for me personally he's one of the best in the world," continued Dembele.

"If you know you have someone in your team who can do something and who can win games for us ... It's unbelievable."

The Welsh winger's hard work has paid dividends for Spurs this season.

Andre Villas-Boas' team sit fifth in the English Premier League table, with Bale's 19 goals in the competition putting Tottenham firmly in the hunt for a top four finish and qualification for the lucrative European Champions League.

Spurs have four matches left to play and sit two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have just three games remaining.

Tottenham will qualify for Europe's premier club competition if they win their remaining fixtures.

While his teammates flocked to praise Bale, the former Southampton player was quick to acknowledge the contribution of his colleagues.

"It's a massive honor," the 23-year-old, who also picked up the Player of the Year award in 2011, told Spurs' official website.

"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.

"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 as well.

"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."

Champions League qualification could be key to Spurs' hopes of keeping hold of Bale.

One way or another, he looks destined to join Messi and Ronaldo at football's top table sooner rather than later.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
updated 11:19 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
updated 3:24 PM EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue May 13, 2014
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
updated 12:03 PM EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
updated 1:15 PM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
updated 5:31 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT