Is Gareth Bale as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?


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The Independent Football

In the 89th minute of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland, Gareth Bale did something that stood the Wales winger apart.

The Tottenham player, drifting forward from the half-way line, unleashed a venomous shot from outside the box that flew into the top corner. Coupled with his earlier conversion of a penalty, Bale has single-handedly dragged his team from behind to beat Scotland 2-1.

It was not the first time Bale had been the talk of football - his hat-trick performance in 2010 against Inter Milan in the Champions League perhaps the most notable occasion up until last week.

Once again, there is talk he will be joining Barcelona or Real Madrid and that the possibilities ahead for the 23-year-old from Cardiff are limitless.

His international manager Chris Coleman says he is not only the best player in Wales (few would argue with that) but also the best British player.

"Anyone can see when he's got the ball he's devastating. He's a terrific player. His work-rate is excellent, he comes away with Wales and plays with passion and incredible ability. You'd be crazy to try and swap him.

"He's scored all our goals [in this campaign] so far and I know people are talking about him. He's a show-stopper and people pay money to come and watch him play."

While Coleman wouldn't swap him for Wayne Rooney, former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker has said that if Jose Mourinho wanted to swap one of his players out to accommodate the Welshman, Bale shouldn't hesitate.

"If he has the possibility to go to Madrid it would be his best move of his career," Suker said.

Should Bale leave White Hart Lane for the Santiago Bernabeu it would mean linking up with Cristiano Ronaldo, and according to Bale's former manager Harry Redknapp, it is the heights of the Portuguese No 7 and a certain Lionel Messi that the Spurs player is destined for.

"He's an amazing, amazing talent and he's after the Ronaldos and Messis of this world and he's getting better and better," Redknapp said ahead of Wales' World Cup qualifier against Croatia tonight.

"He's almost unplayable when he's on his game. He is a genuine world-class player.

"There's nobody he couldn't play for. He'd improve any team.

"He is already at the top but any team in the world would love to have Gareth Bale playing for them."

But where does Bale register against the two players widely considered the best on the planet? We take a look...




Bale: None

Ronaldo: Premier League (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09), FA Cup (2003-04), League Cup (2005-06, 2008-09), Champions League (2007-08), Fifa Club World Cup (2008), La Liga (2011-12), Copa del Rey (2010-11)

Messi: La Liga (2004-05, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11), Copa del Rey (2008-09, 2011-12), Champions League (2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11), Uefa Super Cup (2009, 2011), Fifa Club World Cup (2009, 2011), Olympic Gold Medal with Argentina (2008)



Bale: PFA Player of the Year (2010/11)

Ronaldo: PFA Player of the Year (2006-07, 2007-08), PFA Young Player of the Year (2006-07), Football Writer's Footballer of the Year (2006-07), Barclays Player of the Year (2006-07, 2007-08), Ballon d'Or (2008), Fifa World Player of the Year (2008)

Messi: Ballon d'Or (2009), Fifa World Player of the Year (2009), Fifa Ballon d'Or (2010, 2011), La Liga Player of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011)


Bale: 5 goals /1 assist (from 13 starts)

Ronaldo: 21/2 (from 25 starts)

Messi: 21/6 (from 16 starts)



Bale: 8.8 shots per goal

Ronaldo: 8.52

Messi: 3.57



Bale: 15/15 (from 47 starts)

Ronaldo: 70/16 (from 62 starts)

Messi: 75/27 (from 68 starts)



Bale: 11.13

Ronaldo: 5.71

Messi: 4.02



Bale: 12/3 (from 42 starts)

Ronaldo: 56/17 (from 59 starts)

Messi: 51/22 (from 54 starts)



Bale: 7.16

Ronaldo: 6.39

Messi: 4.96


Additional research Saad Noor and Dave Rudge.