The Welsh forward has worked hard to put himself in contention for a starting role in a showpiece event being staged in his hometown of Cardiff.EXCLUSIVE: Real Madrid goal offer
Hartson believes Bale should be risked from the off, with the 27-year-old possessing the kind of match-altering ability that could swing the heavyweight tie in Madrid’s favour.
The former Wales international told BT Sport of his fellow countryman: “Gareth Bale, representing Real Madrid, we don’t know if he’s going to start, but if Gareth is 75 per cent fit, I would start him because he’s that type of player that can produce moments of brilliance during games.
“In a split second he can win the game for you and I think his manager, Mr Zidane, will fully appreciate that.
“When Gareth is 100 per cent fit, he’s a super phenomenon. If he’s 90% fit, he’s a phenomenon, he’s that good.
“It’s fantastic for Cardiff to showcase the biggest club game in world football and I think it’s the best two teams throughout the competition that meet in the final.”
Success in Wales would allow Bale to end a frustrating 2016-17 campaign on a high.
He has posted the lowest tallies of his time in Madrid for both appearances and goals in the current campaign, with the target found just nine times in 26 outings.