Tottenham v AC Milan

Capello hails Bale as the world's best

March 9, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

As Tottenham prepare to face Fabio Capello's former side Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night, the England manager has described Spurs star Gareth Bale as the best player in the world.

Spurs winger Gareth Bale has been linked with a move away from England with Inter
GettyImagesSpurs winger Gareth Bale has been linked with a move away from England with Inter

• Spurs v AC Milan preview
• Berbatov hails world-class Bale
• Flamini: I'm not a dirty player
• Allegri bullish over prospects
• Redknapp wants to attack Milan
• Forum: Will Spurs qualify?

Bale missed the first leg at San Siro as a Peter Crouch goal gave Tottenham a 1-0 advantage, but returned from a six-week absence against Wolves at the weekend and will occupy a place on the bench at White Hart Lane as Spurs seek to reach the quarter-finals.

The Welshman's brilliant performances against Inter in the group stages saw his profile rise considerably on the continent, and in a warning to the club Capello lead to domestic and European success, the Italian has said Bale is currently the best player on the globe.

"He is today the number one player in the world," Capello said. "He is the only one who can make a difference in the role he plays.

"He has pace, technique and strength. Those three qualities are hard to find in a player who is not a striker. He reminds me of Roberto Carlos, who was born a left back. He was an explosive player and the only one who came even closest to Bale.

"His pace reminds me of the legendary Real Madrid midfielder Francisco Gento, who was unstoppable when he set off down the left flank - but Gento was a born winger, not a left back. He did not possess the same strength as Bale."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says he will not risk Bale from the start against Milan as he is struggling with his fitness, but believes the player's mere presence on the bench will concern the Serie A leaders.

"I don't think there is a better left-sided player around," Redknapp said. "He has got everything. He is 6ft 2in tall, the physique on him is incredible, the pace, the ability to cross the ball, shoot, dribble, head it, he can do everything.

"The world sat up and recognised him after what he did to Inter but he has been tearing teams to pieces for over a year. He's done it against everybody, really.

"If Milan see him on the bench it will give them a few concerns. I'd love to see him start but he's doubtful at the moment. This morning (Monday) he felt he wasn't quite ready to start (the game). His back was okay but he felt a little stiff in his legs."

Tottenham starting XI: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Sandro, Modric, Pienaar, Van der Vaart, Crouch

AC Milan starting XI: Abbiati, Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski, Flamini, Seedorf, Boateng, Robinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic