By Alex Labidou
Wales manager Chris Coleman is confident that Tottenham's Gareth Bale would not look out of place alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid or Lionel Messi at Barcelona were he to be snapped up by one of the Spanish giants in the summer.
The Spurs midfielder has enjoyed another reputation-enhancing season with the north London club, helping them into the top four of the Premier League and an FA Cup semi-final.
And now his national team boss has insisted that the 22-year-old could play for one of the world's biggest clubs.
"Harry Redknapp won't like me saying this but in my opinion absolutely, he could play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid. Any club," Coleman told Goal.com.
Gareth Bale is 33/1 to retain the PFA Player of the Year award this season.
Bale won the Premier League Players' Player of the Year award last season and, despite struggling with injuries on occasion this year, Coleman believes that he can get even better.
"One thing that people forget about Gareth is that he's only 22," the Wales boss explained. "He's a machine. He's 6'2", unbelievably quick left foot. One of the best, if not the best, left-sided attackers on the planet."
"He's incredibly aggressive offensively. When he picks the ball up he can pick 50 to 60 metres within seconds and go past three or four players. He can quickly turn a defensive situation into an offensive situation with in a blink of an eye because he's so quick and strong."
Though Coleman stopped short of grouping Bale alongside Ronaldo and Messi, he expressed his belief that the forward is still amongst the game's best.
"Messi and Ronaldo, they aren't from this planet, they are from another world," he stated. "They are out there by themselves but behind those two players are another group of players who are fantastic. Gareth Bale will fit into that group for me."
Entering his third month as Wales boss, Coleman admitted that replacing Gary Speed, who was found hanged at his home last November, has not been an easy transition.
"It was always my ambition to coach my country. Obviously with the circumstances of Gary's death, it was difficult situation," he said.
"People forget that Gareth Bale is only 22. He's a machine. He has an unbelievably quick left foot. One of the best, if not the best, left-sided attackers on the planet"
- Chris Coleman
"I'm very honored and privileged to do the job but there's a sense of not necessarily disappointment but grief, he was one of my friends.
"The whole situation was surreal really."
Coleman has coached one game for Wales, a memorial match for Speed against Costa Rica last month, which his side lost 1-0.
And, while he was pleased with the strong turnout and show of support that night, he underlined the fact that he had never wished to manage in "that" game.
"It was a strange situation to be involved with because none of us should be there," he said. "You don't know how to deal with it because it's new territory. "
With Wales' national team facing adversity following Speed's death, Coleman hopes to develop a bond with his players which could help them secure World Cup qualification.
The 41-year-old is confident that his side will be feature in Brazil 2014, in what would be their first appearance in the World Cup since 1958, where qualification was sealed after Israel dropped out.
"With the Welsh players that we have, I think there is a possibility," he said.
"We have to keep moving forward and trying to progress. Keep trying to win games, that's what he [Speed] would have wanted anyway. "
Coleman and the Wales national team will be in New Jersey, USA, to face Mexico in a friendly on May 27.
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