‘Bale bettered Zidane & Ronaldo, he’s a great’ – Welsh star shone at Real Madrid prior to Spurs return, says Savage

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Gareth Bale Real Madrid Champions League final 2017-18Getty

Gareth Bale’s record at Real Madrid places him among “the greats”, claims Robbie Savage, with the former Wales international eager to point out that the Tottenham-bound star bettered the efforts of Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo during his time in Spain.

A testing end to a spell at Santiago Bernabeu has been endured by a man who became the most expensive player on the planet when joining the Blancos in 2013.

Bale found himself frozen out under Zinedine Zidane before pushing for a return to the Premier League, with questions being asked of his fitness and attitude on a regular basis.

The 31-year-old now has the opportunity to silence his critics, as he prepares to head back to familiar surroundings on an initial loan deal, but Savage says a fellow countryman has nothing to prove.

For him, Bale has already secured a standing among the modern legends – particularly in Madrid where he added two La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns to his medal collection.

Savage told The Mirror: “For me, Bale’s record stands comparison with any of British football’s best ­players abroad – from the great John Charles at ­Juventus, to Kevin Keegan at Hamburg, Tony Woodcock at Cologne, ­Michael Owen and Steve ­McManaman at Real Madrid, Paul Ince at Inter Milan, Paul Gascoigne at Lazio and Gary Lineker at ­Barcelona.

“And Bale should be revered in Spain with the very best imported legends. Just look at his stats, which stack up well in comparison with some of the ­biggest names.

“He has scored 105 goals, won 13 ­trophies, ­including the Champions League four times, and his overhead kick against Liverpool two years ago was the greatest goal in a major final I’ve seen.

“Compare that with the great Zinedine ­Zidane, now his coach at Real: 49 goals, six trophies and that world-class volley against Bayer Leverkusen in a Champions League final.

“Compare Bale’s ­record with Luis Figo: 57 goals, seven trophies. And compare it with Brazilian legend Ronaldo: 104 goals and three trophies.

“Bale has scored more goals and won more trophies than those three. So he is up there with the greats.”

On a move to rejoin Spurs, Savage added: “Where will he fit in at Tottenham?

“Jose Mourinho is tactically more astute than I can ever hope to be, but I would play him just off Harry Kane in a ­central role.

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“That is where he has the best chance of manipulating the ball on to that deadly left foot and ­influencing the game.

“With Kane and Bale, ­Tottenham will lift the whole club, lift the supporters and it should give them a better chance of lifting trophies this season.

“I’m not sure it will be enough to outweigh ­Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea’s squad depths, but it will make Spurs an even more fascinating watch this season.”