Gareth Bale Tops Robin van Persie for FWA Footballer of the Year Award

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

The trophy case of Tottenham superstar Gareth Bale continues to grow as today he added the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year to his haul for the 2012-13 season, reports Sky Sports

Bale received 53 percent of the vote to edge Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, who finished in second place at 43 percent, according to the report. Juan Mata of Chelsea came in third ahead of Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker's image following a recent biting incident likely played a role in his poor vote total.

It's the third major honor received by Bale for his tremendous play. He was previously honored as both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association. Today's announcement completed the trifecta.

The dynamic attacking star made the following comments about his latest award win (via Sky Sports):

It is a huge honour to receive the Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers' Association.

It means a lot to win this award when you consider the number of players that have been outstanding for their clubs in the Barclays Premier League this season.

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 in the past 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.

Bale is enjoying the best season of his career, with 22 goals and eight assists across Premier League and Europa League play. The immense talent he's showcased since debuting with Southampton is finally starting to shine through in a major way.

There were periods of the season when he was forced to carry Spurs through some rough patches. Inconsistent production from players like Jermain Defoe and Clint Dempsey put the onus on him to lead the attack, and he did at a high level almost every week.

Without him, it's hard to imagine Tottenham still having a chance to secure a Champions League berth with four matches left in the campaign. When you consider the type of value he provided, the award wins are certainly justified.

Van Persie had an extremely productive first season at Old Trafford, currently leading the EPL with 25 goals. Mata was an essential piece of the Chelsea attack and continues to show why he's one of the league's most complete offensive players. Suarez was a goal-scoring machine for the Reds.

In the end, however, Bale's play warranted the FWA's top individual honor. And at 23, his days of winning major awards are far from over.