Originally published by Entertainment.ie, Wednesday 22th May, 2013. To read the original, please click here.
Though last weekend’s Premier League finish didn’t provide any degree of the nail biting climax and hysteria that Man City’s league win brought last year, it threw up enough interesting talking points during the year: Rooney’s lackluster season, Suarez chewing up defenders (couldn’t resist that one)…it was an interesting season, if not all that exciting towards the finishing line.
So who was the best player of the season? Well, I’ve picked 5 players below who I think definitely deserve to be in the running. There are some omissions; you have been warned, but it’s up to you to tell me who you think was the player of the season from the candidates below.
O.k., here we go:
1. Luis Suárez
Suárez isn’t so much the player that people love to hate, but more so the player who makes it difficult for us to admire. Between racially abusing Patrice Evra in 2011- for which the FA, after a seven day hearing, handed him a £40,000 fine and an eight match ban- and that utterly bizarre and senseless biting incident involving Chelsea’s Ivanovic, the Uruguayan does himself no favors. Liverpool fans- football fans, in general- will tell you, however, that when he delivers on the pitch, he delivers. It’s hard to think of a team in the world who wouldn’t give their right arm to have this man in their starting 11, despite the baggage that he brings. Masterful finishes and spectacular turns make a case for his inclusion. Let’s hope by the start of the next season that he grows as a adult every bit as he’s grown as a player.
2. Christian Benteke
Arguably Aston Villa’s best player, Benteke lifted Villa during the Birmingham club’s worst season in quite a long while. At £7million, the 22- year old was an absolute bargain for Villa, though rumors suggest that the Belgian international is getting itchy feet and wants to hotfoot it out of Villa park. Wherever Benteke goes, his development over the next couple of seasons is worth keeping an eye on.
Speaking of bargains, it’s hard not to think of Spanish striker Michu, who signed with Swansea back in July of last year for a paltry £2million. Netting over 20 goals for the Welsh side this season, Michu is the kind of versatile player that most managers dream of; a striker who is as creative and important in midfield as he is up front; a fantastic finisher who scores memorable goals; and, most importantly, he nets goals when his side most need goals: just think of his goals throughout Swansea’s League Cup campaign. A player that the Welsh side need to guard with their lives.
4. Robin Van Persie
It didn’t look like Robin Van Persie’s first season at Old Trafford was going to be as remarkable as we all had thought. Between February and April of this year after going 10 games without scoring, a drought for any striker, the Dutchman finally pulled it out of the bag with a blistering hat- trick against Aston Villa, which effectively handed over the Premier League title to Utd. He also scored probably one of the most memorable Manchester Derby goals of recent times: that last minute free kick that gave Utd their 3-2 edge over City, which is enough for most Mancs to heap heavenly praise on the Dutchman for years to come.
5. Gareth Bale
A one man team, Welshman Gareth Bale, at just 23 years of age, is the consummate all- rouder: lighting speed, great technical skill and a player who inspires those around him. As a winger, Britain has not produced a better crosser of the ball since a peak David Beckham. True, Bale may not have lifted Sprurs to the place in the table where they perhaps should be, but Bale has taken his experience as a back in Southampton and managed to adjust to his role in midfield with considerable ease. A move up as a striker could prove to be an exciting development in one of the most naturally gifted British footballing talents of recent years.
Honourable Mentions: Juan Mata (Chelsea), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), David Luiz (Chelsea), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Leighton Baines (Everton), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur).