Benitez: Bale can be the best in two years

The Welsh forward has the potential to become the game's outstanding player if he keeps up his level of progress, according to his former coach at Real Madrid

Ex-Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has backed Gareth Bale to develop into the world's best player in two years.

The Spaniard was dismissed after less than six months in the Santiago Bernabeu dugout, with reports that he had lost the support of the dressing room and key players.

Nevertheless, the coach was said to have developed a close working relationship with Bale, and the Welshman grew into a central figure in his attack during his short-lived reign.

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And Benitez has confirmed his star had been one of the most professional players during his time in the Spanish capital, and expects great things to come if he maintains his progress.

"I never had a moment’s problem with Gareth. He was a very solid professional who listened," the 55-year-old told reporters. "He did his work on the pitch and in the gym too.

"But what I see in him most is improvement. There are areas of his game that he continues to work on. He can get better.

"Obviously, he’s a very good player now. But in a couple of years if he carries on, I don’t see any reason why he could not be regarded as the best."