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The former Liverpool and Real Madrid star insists the flying Welshman has to test himself against the very best in the world, as speculation mounts about his future.

Gareth Bale cannot afford to turn down an approach from Real Madrid or Barcelona if he wants to reach his full potential, according to former Blancos star Steve McManaman.

Speculation is mounting over the future of the flying Welshman after a phenomenal season that saw him notch 31 goals for club and country and scoop both the FWA Footballer and PFA Player of the Year awards and PFA Young Player of the Year honors.

"If he ever has the opportunity to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona I would never say ‘no’ to them," McManaman told reporters. "I think sooner or later, whether it’s this year or next year, he needs to be playing against the best people in the world.

"He needs to be testing himself against the best players in the world because he is arguably one of the best players in the world on current form."

Bale's agent has revealed his client would consider an offer from Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez recently declared the Tottenham star was "born to play" at Santiago Bernabeu.

"Sooner rather than later he’ll want to be playing in the Champions League and if Tottenham can’t ­deliver that this year I think they’re going to struggle to hold on to him," McManaman added. "But it all depends on whether he’s comfortable in London, whether he wants to play abroad and whether he fancies the challenge abroad.

"He’s 23 at the moment, he’s still very young and he’s a new father – he has got time on his side.

"But it all depends on what he wants to do doesn’t it?"

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