Former Real Madrid playmaker Zinedine Zidane says Tottenham Hotspur flyer Gareth Bale has been the most impressive player in Europe this season.
Real Madrid and France great Zinedine Zidane has lauded Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale, heralding the Wales winger as the player who has most impressed him in Europe this season.
“This year the player who’s impressed me most is not actually playing in the Champions League. He’s playing in ‘the other cup’ and that’s Bale,” Zidane told Sky Sports.
“He’s unique. He makes things look easy, his pace is frightening, his acceleration is unbelievable because of his ability to go through the gears in very little space.
“Plus, he’s very good technically which is also important. We mustn’t forget that he plays football very well!
“And he’s really impressed me. I’ve seen him two or three times live, including recently at Lyon, which wasn’t necessarily his best game, but where every time he got the ball he can surprise you.”
Bale’s progress in recent seasons has been outstanding.
Only a few years ago he was regarded as something of a bad luck charm, and famously – or infamously – went 24 Premier League matches before finally finishing a game on the winning side, against Burnley in 2009 when he took to the field as a late substitute.
Since then, he has evolved from left back to left winger, and now to his current position of central in Spurs’ attacking line, where he has truly flourished under new boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Bale has scored an astonishing 17 goals in 27 Premier League matches this season, and 22 in 37 appearances overall – truly impressive from an attacking midfield position.
His goal against Swansea City last weekend showed the kind of football intelligence that can barely be taught – an instinctive finish with little backlift immediately after collecting Jan Vertonghen’s pass.
Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm was left stranded.
With persistent rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo with an exit to the likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain over the last few months, Zidane’s presence at multiple Tottenham Hotspur matches this season could be with a view to replacing the Real Madrid ace.
The Frenchman certainly puts Bale within the same ballpark as the likes of Ronaldo and his FC Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
“He’s perhaps not quite at the level of the other two, but he’s different,” said Zidane.
“So personally I don’t think he’s far off.”