Former Real Madrid manager Rafael Benítez has praised Welsh superstar Gareth Bale for his ability to constantly improve, and has tipped the former Tottenham Hotspur star to become the best player in the world in two years.
A recurring calf injury has brought a halt to a season that was promising to be Gareth Bale’s most productive for Real Madrid till date, with the 26-year-old scoring 13 goals and assisting a further 11 in just 17 appearances in all competitions in 2015-16.
The departure of Rafa Benítez prompted speculation about the future of the Welshman, who was reportedly one of the only key players at the Santiago Bernabéu to support the former Liverpool manager.
The Spaniard has now reciprocated that loyalty, expressing his admiration for Bale, and opining that the former Tottenham Hotspur star can go on to become the best player in the world.
Benítez is quoted by Goal UK as saying: “I never had a moment’s problem with Gareth. He was a very solid professional who listened. 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.”
Bale yet to reproduce the virtuosity of 2012-2013 season
Despite moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world in Real Madrid and plying his trade in a league that is arguably less competitive than the English Premier League, Gareth Bale has yet to produce the goalscoring returns that he did with Tottenham Hotspur in his remarkable 2012-2013 season. The Wales international scored 26 in all competitions that year — his best till date — but has been unable to reach the same heights on an individual level since his world-record transfer.
Perhaps Bale’s biggest competition is within the team, in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese is Real Madrid’s star man and the chemistry between the two has never quite been anything more than what one would normally expect from two extremely gifted footballers. Perhaps the Welshman needs to move to a club where he is the focal point of the attack. Doing so would arguably give him a better chance to shine and become the best in the world, as Benítez predicts he will.