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

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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links