Davies hails 'leader' Bale amid talk of Tottenham return

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The Real forward has been lashed by criticism from sections of the Bernabeu, but Wales teammate Ben Davies has backed his strength of character

Gareth Bale is a leader who sets an example on the pitch, according to international team-mate Ben Davies.

Bale has come in for renewed criticism following Real Madrid's back-to-back Clasico defeats to Barcelona, with the Wales superstar having become something of a poster boy for a disappointing campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 29-year-old's agent Jonathan Barnett hit back on Monday, branding the way Madrid's fans have treated four-time Champions League winner Bale as "nothing short of a disgrace".

Manchester United have been regularly touted as a possible return route to the Premier League for Bale, with recent speculation also flagging up the possibility of a second spell at Spurs – where his performances twice landed the PFA Player of the Year award before he moved to Madrid in 2013.

"Yeah, I can't really comment on him coming to Spurs, I don't know if that's even possible," Davies told a pre-match news conference ahead of Tottenham's trip to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Davies and Bale starred together in Wales' run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and the defender added: "When we meet up with him on the national team he's a leader and he loves his football.

"He sets the example on the pitch and he's a joy to play with."

Spurs have a 3-0 advantage over Bundesliga leaders Dortmund following the first leg their last-16 encounter at Wembley.

But Davies insists there will be no room for easing off at Signal Iduna Park.

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"For us it's about not being complacent, going into the game, looking to put a professional performance in and doing what's asked of us.

"I think this is going to be the third time we've played here in the last three or four years.

"We're playing against a top side, so we have to be ready for the quality they've got."

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