Wales 3 Iceland 1: Gareth Bale at his brutal best as Wales manager Chris Coleman jokes 'I asked him for his autograph'

Coleman was full of praise for Bale as he labels him one of the best he has ever seen

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The Independent Football

Gareth Bale was at his devastating best as he inspired Wales to a comfortable 3-1 win over Iceland in their international friendly in Cardiff.

The Real Madrid forward had been the star attraction at the Cardiff City Stadium and he lived up to his billing as he scored a magnificent solo goal and created two others.

James Collins opened the scoring when he headed home from a Bale free-kick and Sam Vokes snaffled a second after the former Tottenham star had a shot cleared off the line.

Bale wrapped up victory when he sprinted down the touchline from inside his own half and then cut in to drill home a low shot.

Iceland had given themselves hope when a Johann Gudmundsson strike was deflected in off Ashley Williams to make it 1-1 at half-time but the visitors could not contain the rampant Bale.

Wales manager Chris Coleman said: "I have just asked him for an autograph!

"He is one of the best I have ever witnessed. He is an unbelievable player, he really is. He is a fantastic weapon for us.

"For the people who came tonight it was worth paying the fee, just for him."

Unfortunately for the Football Association of Wales, only 13,290 did turn up for what seemed a low-key affair.

Yet while it might not have been the Bernabeu or the Champions League, Bale showed no little enthusiasm for the challenge in the 72 minutes he was on the field.

He ran at Iceland, who continually backed off him, from the outset and with such virtuoso displays Wales could challenge for a place at Euro 2016.

Coleman, who also still has Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey to return from injury, said: "Iceland are a good team with good defenders, they got to the World Cup play-offs.

"It is not as if he is up against someone who can't play.

"He reminds me of when I was younger, as a 10-year-old playing against 15-year-olds, when he runs round defenders."

Bale joined Real Madrid in a world-record £85.3million move from Spurs last summer and is now starting to find his feet in La Liga after a slow start due to injuries.

Coleman has no doubt the 24-year-old has the potential to become the world's best.

He said: "He has every chance of winning the Ballon d'Or one day.

"I'm not sure he thinks about that but, looking around, there are not many others playing like he is.

"How many players have the capacity to do what he does? If he was Spanish or Brazilian people would go crazy.

"He has to be up there as one of the best players on the planet. You cannot disguise it.

"He was worth the admission on his own."

Iceland manager Lars Lagerback admitted his side had been outplayed by Bale.

Lagerback said: "He is world class. I don't know if I can find the words to describe the way he is playing.

"He is absolutely in the same bracket as (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo."

PA

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