Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has described Gareth Bale as one of the best players in the world following his two-goal showing for Tottenham on Saturday.
The Welshman netted twice to help Spurs earn a 2-1 victory over Pardew's side at White Hart Lane, and was only denied a hat-trick by some late brilliance from Magpies keeper Tim Krul.
And the English coach has praised the winger, revealing that the tactical plans he had concocted to nullify Bale's threat simply had not worked.
"If you picked a world XI there is no doubt in my mind that he would play left midfield," Pardew told reporters. "He could probably play left back as well.
"We did a lot of work on trying to stop him. But he showed there are still going to be moments when he creates that space.
"It’s his technique with the hit that is the problem. He seems to be able to connect true whether he is on balance or off balance. That’s what makes him so difficult to play against."
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor also had kind words for the 23-year-old, comparing him to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Gareth Bale is a world beater. He is the complete player. He’s like Ronaldo," he said.
"He is one of those who can produce that bit of magic. You have to be on your toes all the time and just pray to God he doesn’t score.
"He is outstanding and we were all saying after the game what a fantastic player he was."