Lineker: Bale among world's elite

The Welshman has struggled with injury problems this season but still deserves to be counted as a world-class player, according to the pundit

Gareth Bale is among the world’s best 10 players, according to former England striker Gary Lineker.

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The Real Madrid winger is currently preparing for Saturday evening’s Champions League final against Juventus, which will take place in Bale’s home country of Wales.

The former Tottenham star has struggled with injury throughout the season, and is a fitness doubt for the showpiece encounter.

Nevertheless, Bale has contributed seven goals in 19 La Liga appearances thus far this season, and Lineker insists that the Welshman deserves to be counted among the world’s elite players.

"I'd put him right up there," Lineker told the BBC. "He has certainly got to be in the top 10.

"[Bale's] won a lot of things, helped Wales be more successful than they have been in a long time, and he is playing for one of the giants of world football, so he is right up there and still in his prime.

"I have always loved him as a player. He is a wonderfully gifted footballer. I am sure he really wants to be part of this final, in his home town.

"He has had his share of injuries this season, which is a shame. But overall at Real Madrid he has proven himself as a world-class player.

"This game is not going to define him one way or the other, but it could add to [his reputation]."

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