Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

AVB: Bale can fulfil potential here

Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to Real Madrid
Gareth Bale has been linked with a move to Real Madrid

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas does not think Gareth Bale needs to go to Real Madrid to fulfil his potential.

The Wales forward has been linked with Real, and their big rivals Barcelona, after a stunning season that has seen him fire in 23 goals for club and country. Madrid are thought to have made the 23-year-old their number one transfer target, and Bale would no doubt be tempted by a move to the nine-times European champions should they come calling this summer.

Villas-Boas remains confident of hanging on to his man however, and said: "I think for a player to develop to his full potential, it can be done perfectly in this league. I think Gareth has that in mind, not only regarding Spurs but regarding this league too. We have the best league in the world in my opinion. The best clubs are continuing to attract the best players over."

The Tottenham manager also warned Real president Fiorentino Perez he would find it extremely hard to deal with his opposite number Daniel Levy.

"We don't want Gareth to go by any circumstances," he said.

"I have told you in the past that our chairman is very, very difficult to deal with.

"We will try to hold on to our assets. We believe that we have to hold on to the best players in order to achieve our objectives."

Bale's form has seen him compared to Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Ballon d'Or holder Lionel Messi.

Some critics - Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand among them - have questioned whether Bale should be mentioned in the same breath as a duo widely regarded as two of the greatest players of all time, but Villas-Boas disagrees.

"He is world class and those two players are," the Portuguese said. "Gareth at the moment is showing that level of form to be at the level of those two players, who have won so much throughout their careers, including European trophies. He still has to achieve that and we hope he can achieve it with us. I think he is very down to earth."

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