Gareth Bale is a “super phenomenon” who could win Real Madrid the Champions League final in a “split second” even short of full fitness, says John Hartson.
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
He has not figured for Madrid since a Clasico clash with Barcelona on April 23, but he is in Zinedine Zidane’s squad to face Juventus on Saturday.
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.