Tottenham legend Jurgen Klinsmann warns Gareth Bale could leave White Hart Lane if club fail to qualify for Champions League

Spurs take on Chelsea tonight in a crucial encounter

Tottenham have to qualify for the Champions League or risk losing Footballer of the Year Gareth Bale, US national coach and former Spurs talisman Jurgen Klinsmann said in an interview with Reuters.

Klinsmann, who before Bale was the last Spurs player to score 20 league goals in a season and also win the prestigious Footballer of the Year for the feat, said Bale was a tremendous talent but he would need to play on the big stage with a club in the Champions League.

Klinsmann said that had been the reason he left the north London side with a heavy heart in 1995 for Bayern Munich right after winning the Footballer of the Year award.

"I'm a huge Tottenham fan and I'm also a huge Gareth Bale admirer," Klinsmann said in an interview near his home in Southern California.

"I just hope, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed, that they make into the Champions League. The risk is very big that if you don't go into the Champions League, you'll lose Gareth Bale."

Bale has scored 25 goals in all competitions for Spurs, many of them spectacular strikes from outside the penalty area.

His performances helped Tottenham reach the Europa League quarter-finals and have kept them in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League and a possible return to the Champions League.

Spurs are currently fifth in the league, two points behind Arsenal who have played a game more, and a win over Chelsea on Wednesday would boost their Champions League hopes.

Bale's performances have also sparked widespread media reports that Spurs would value their prize asset at somewhere between 60 million pounds ($92.82 million)and 80 million pounds - a price tag which would scare off all but the richest of suitors.

"I think he deserves that recognition, footballer of the year." Klinsmann said. "He deserves an amazing amount of admiration for how he's played the last two or three seasons.

"He plays for Wales and can probably never play in a World Cup. A player like him needs to play on the biggest stage. The risk is if Tottenham don't reach the biggest stage, the Champions League, that they might lose him."

Klinsmann said that was, ultimately, the reason he left Spurs in 1995 right after winning Footballer of the Year.

"My reason for leaving the Spurs was only to play on a bigger stage," he said.

"That's why I left the Spurs for Bayern Munich many years ago. I wanted to play top European football.

"That might be the risk now with Gareth. But I hope they make it happen, qualify for the Champions League and play Champions League next season and can keep Gareth Bale at White Hart Lane. That is my big hope."

Reuters

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas