Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale capped a memorable season last night when he was named the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year.
The 21-year-old Wales international has scored 11 goals in 36 club games this season and becomes the first non-Manchester United player to win the award since Liverpool's Steven Gerrard in 2006.
He is also the fourth Welshman to be honoured, after Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and his former international colleague, Ryan Giggs.
Bale leapt to global prominence by scoring a hat-trick in Spurs' 4-3 UEFA Champions League defeat at Inter Milan in October, before producing a man-of-the-match performance in Tottenham's 3-1 win in the return game.
"It is an honour, really, when you look at the names that have won it before and it just makes you go 'wow' really," said Bale. "I am more than delighted. It is a massive award and it is a great honour to receive, especially from other fellow professionals."
Bale beat off competition from Arsenal's Samir Nasri, Manchester City's Carlos Tevez, Blackpool's Charlie Adam, Tottenham team-mate Rafael van der Vaart and Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic to win the award.
"There haven't been too many Welshmen to have won the trophy but it is great and it is great for me personally," added Bale. "And it is not just for me, it is for all my team-mates that have helped me through the season and it is kind of for everyone really."
Wilshere wins young award
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, 19, was named PFA Young Player of the Year, despite Bale also being nominated in the category.
"It is my first full season and it is a massive award, especially from my fellow players, it is amazing," said Wilshere, who has become a first-choice player for Fabio Capello's England this term.
"I am very proud to be the fifth recipient from Arsenal, it is good to keep this history going. Arsenal is a good club for bringing youngsters through and they keep proving it so I would like to thank the manager [Arsene Wenger] as well."
Bale and Wilshere, both left-footers, were also named in the PFA Team of the Year.
PFA Team of the Year: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United); Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City); Nani (Manchester United), Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur); Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United)