It is hard to believe that Gareth Bale was once considered something of a Tottenham jinx, having appeared in 24 Barclays Premier League games without being on the winning side.
An incredible and record-breaking statistic, but nothing as incredible as the Welsh international’s rise to fame as a quality player of global stature. Comparisons with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are commonplace, and colleagues, opponents, managers and writers alike are rapidly running out of superlatives.
He is quite frankly a unique talent.
When you can combine the technical ability and intricate footwork of Messi with the pace, power and purpose of Ronaldo, what more is there to add?
Bale in full flight is a sight to behold for teammates and Tottenham followers alike – but a nightmare for those charged with the task of tackling the science of perpetual motion.
A shining light for country as well as club, there are few bigger fans of the full back turned winger-turned all rounder than Welsh national boss Chris Coleman.
“I have played with and against world class players and he is up there with the very best of them.”
Bale’s current boss Andre Villas-Boas is not one to disagree and likens his prized asset to the two players whose names always crop up when the subject of ‘world’s greatest’ is debated. To justify his
comments, AVB explains: “For Spurs to lose Gareth would be the same as Real losing Ronaldo, or Barcelona losing Messi a disaster.”
The PFA’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2011 has continued to grow in stature and confidence, and it is little wonder that every transfer window sees him linked with Europe’s biggest clubs.
Barcelona and Real Madrid, not surprisingly, are known admirers and would be prepared to pay a king’s ransom to lure this exceptional player away from White Hart Lane.
The impact Ronaldo has continued to make on the European stage has not been lost on Bale, who considers the Real star to be the ‘benchmark’ for superstardom.
Gareth says: “The way he plays, he is the best all round player in the world. Can I get to that level? One day, perhaps. He is the one we all try to match.”
AT A GLANCE:
- On April 17, 2006, at the age of 16 years and 275 days, Bale became the second youngest player ever to play for Southampton.
- He scored five goals in 40 appearances for Saints before joining Spurs for £7million in May 2007.
- Gareth’s first ever involvement in a Barclays Premier League victory came against Burnley on September 26, 2009 – more than two years after signing for Spurs.
- He scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4-0 win against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, 20012.
- He was crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2011 and was also named in the UEFATeam of the Year.
- The youngest player to ever play for Wales, Gareth has scored 11 goals in 41 appearances for the national side.