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G. Bale

Bale was as good as Ronaldo & Messi and there's 'nothing to dislike' about him, former team-mate claims

21:22 GMT+3 10/01/2023
Gareth Bale Real Madrid
Brad Friedel was full of praise for former Tottenham team-mate Gareth Bale after he announced his retirement from football.
  • Bale announces retirement
  • Enjoyed stellar career
  • Friedel compares him to Messi & Ronaldo

WHAT HAPPENED? Bale has announced he's hanging up his boots at the age of 33. The Welshman retires after winning five Champions League titles, three La Liga crowns, the Copa del Rey and the MLS Cup with LAFC. Former Spurs team-mate Friedel has claimed the forward was just as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when he was at the peak of his powers.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Other than Ronaldo and Messi there was no one better in the world towards the end of his time at Tottenham Hotspur and at Real Madrid. He was big, powerful, good in the air and with a great left foot. He had everything and he was one of the very best I’ve ever shared a pitch with," Friedel told OLBG. "Gareth Bale lifted the level of everyone around him. He’s a very mellow, nice guy. There’s nothing to dislike about him."

AND WHAT'S MORE: Bale's later career was marred by injuries but Friedel insisted the Welshman was not to blame for his physical issues.

"He kept himself fit, although he had a sprinters' body so he did have a few injuries which was a shame. He had a really powerful sprint," he explained. "But those injuries were not because he didn’t live his life right, he lived his life perfectly well, although some coaches may say he liked golf a bit too much! I think you’d have to make a lot of phone calls to find someone with something bad to say about him."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Bale confirmed he was bringing down the curtain on a glittering career after featuring for Wales at World Cup 2022 and midway through his contract with LAFC. The forward said he had opted to hang up his boots "after careful and thoughtful consideration" but added that the decision had been "the hardest" of his career.

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WHAT NEXT FOR BALE? It's not clear yet what Bale's plans for future are, although Man City boss Pep Guardiola has already joked he will now become a "fantastic golf player."