Best Player in Europe final three: Gareth Bale

Wales talisman Gareth Bale is one of two Real Madrid representatives in line for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, his 2015/16 exploits earning him selection alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gareth Bale won the UEFA Champions League and reached the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finals
Gareth Bale won the UEFA Champions League and reached the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finals ©UEFA.com

Gareth Bale suffered an injury-plagued season but still managed 19 Liga goals, the forward's most productive campaign for Real Madrid. Four of those strikes came in a 10-2 demolition of Rayo Vallecano and another three as Deportivo La Coruña were beaten 5-0 three weeks later.

The real glory arrived in Milan, where Bale – who scored in the final shoot-out against Atlético Madrid – helped his side win a second UEFA Champions League crown in three years, and then France, where his three goals were a key factor in Wales's remarkable run to the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finals.

Honours: UEFA Champions League

Domestic league
Appearances: 23
Goals: 19
Assists: 10

UEFA Champions League
Appearances: 8
Goals: 0
Assists: 3

UEFA EURO 2016
Appearances: 6
Goals: 3
Assists: 1

Joe Walker, UEFA.com's Real Madrid reporter for 2015/16
My Bale highlights

  • His hat-trick in  Zinédine Zidane's first game as Real Madrid coach. To boot the second goal was his 50th for the club: one more than his new boss scored for the Merengues. With question marks surrounding Bale''s role in the side following Rafael Benítez's departure, it was the perfect way to demonstrate his qualities.
  • Bale put in a wonderful display as he won a second UEFA Champions League final in three campaigns in the Spanish capital. His sublime header set up Sergio Ramos to open the scoring, while his selfless efforts throughout the 120 minutes saw him barely able to walk come the penalty shootout. Nevertheless he hobbled up and converted cooly.
  • Bale will forever be synonymous with Wales's first major tournament appearance in 58 years in which they surpassed all expectations to reach the semi-finals. He scored two wonderful free-kicks in the group stage, while a strike from open play against Russia and assist versus Northern Ireland helped Chris Coleman's men on their way before finally coming unstuck against Portugal.

Why he should win
Before Bale moved to the Spanish capital Real Madrid had been waiting since 2002 to win the UEFA Champions League. With the Welshman at the club they have won it twice in three seasons, showing he has helped the team as a whole move up another level. Despite being a Galáctico in Madrid, this has not changed his humble attitude towards representing his country and the passion and camaraderie shown by Bale while with Wales at UEFA EURO 2016 was a big part of their magical run to the semi-finals.

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