Champions League vital to retaining Gareth Bales says Heurelho Gomes

Heurelho Gomes admits Tottenham may find it hard to keep hold of Gareth Bale if they do not make it into next year's Champions League.

Bale has shot to prominence thanks to his outstanding performances in Europe this year, most notably his two stunning displays against Inter Milan.

The Wales winger signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract last month, but admitted before last week's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid that he could be tempted to move to one of Europe's biggest clubs in the future.

With Spurs currently outsiders in the race for fourth, the likes of Inter, Barcelona and Manchester United could come in for the 21-year-old to guarantee him Champions League football next season.

Gomes spelled out the potentially damaging consequences of not making the top four, saying: "When you play Champions League every player wants to sign for Spurs.

"Maybe without Champions League it's a little bit difficult to sign very good players, and also to keep the best players.

"Gareth is important to us."

Spurs stand on the brink of elimination from this year's competition after they took a ruthless 4-0 beating by Real Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final clash at the Bernabeu last Tuesday.

The Londoners came back from a three-goal deficit against Young Boys in the qualifying stage and almost completed a similar comeback against Inter Milan in the group stages, but bookmakers rate their chances of overcoming the four-goal deficit against Jose Mourinho's side at a huge 50-1.

Gomes, who performed poorly in the Spanish capital, is confident Spurs can pull of an upset in tomorrow's second leg, however.

His optimism stems from his experience of a thrilling climax to the 2006-07 season with PSV Eindhoven, who started the final matchday in third place but won the Eredivisie thanks to 5-1 victory over Vitesse Arnhem.

The same scoreline would still see Spurs eliminated from the competition tomorrow, but Gomes insists he and his team-mates can pull off a big upset at White Hart Lane and progress.

"We have shown a lot of character before to come back from difficult situations and I think we can show it again, so why can't we win it and go through?" Gomes said.

"At PSV in the 2006-7 season, it was the last game of the season, and, if we beat Vitesse at home, by five goals, we'd win the competition.

"We won 5-1 and Ajax only won 3-0 so we won the league on goal difference by one goal.

"We won the title when no one thought we could do it. Miracles can happen."

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