Bale misses the thrill of 'special' Champions League

The Tottenham star, who has been heavily linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, admits he enjoys the open nature of Europe's top competition
Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale has admitted he misses the thrill of playing in the Champions League.

The Wales international has been strongly linked with a mega-money move away from White Hart Lane this summer after an outstanding season with Spurs last term for which he received a variety of awards and accolades.

Despite manager Andre Villas-Boas insisting Bale will stay in north London, the 23-year-old has reiterated his love for the Champions League - a competition Spurs narrowly missed out on qualifying for last season.

7/4 Tottenham are 7/4 with Paddy Power to finish in the top four
"When you play in the Premier League, say you're playing against a lower-end team, they set up to defend all the time, they set up to block you off," he told Esquire.

"But when you play in the Champions League, all the other teams are used to winning every week, so it's more of an open game, it's more attacking, end-to-end."

"No one's used to defending, everyone's used to attacking and trying to win games, so it's just all against all.

"The music is a massive thing - Zadok the Priest (Handel's anthem that announces the arrival of the teams).

"When we first got into the Champions League, it's one of the things that most of the lads were looking forward to, hearing it in the stadium. It's little things like that which make it special."

Tottenham's assault on the top four next season looks set to begin with the signing of Corinthians midfielder Paulinho, while he could be joined by Dinamo Zagreb duo Tin Jedvaj and Alen Halilovic as Spurs compete with Arsenal for the Croatians.