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Gareth Bale is a player who divides opinion. Some claim he is overrated and not on the level of various other players he has been compared to, while others have suggested he is one of, if not the best player in the Premier League.
My opinion on Bale is quite specific, and one that I feel must be presented in article form.
I remember a game at the start of the 2007/08 season when I first truly noticed Gareth Bale. His runs were powerful, and he constantly stretched the Fulham defence that day. His impressive performance that day was rewarded with a goal that summarised the Bale we see today, a long and energetic run followed by a good finish although the game ended 3-3.
However it was another two years before Bale really amazed me with a performance and that performance was against Arsenal towards the end of the 2009/10 season. At times, Bale looked world class and it made you feel very confident in his future.
Bale’s real breakout season was definitely 2010/11, which included some excellent performances in the champions league, especially against the then reigning champions Inter Milan. In the away leg in Milan, Tottenham had an utterly rotten first half and at half time they were 4-0 down. The North London club were in need of inspiration and Bale gave them that, scoring a hat-trick, resulting in the game finishing 4-3.
That was Bale at his finest, and he was fully capable of inspiring a team on his own. Bale terrorised Inter Milan right back Macon again in a 3-1 win for Tottenham at home a few weeks after and all of a sudden there was a huge buzz about the Welshman. Some were predicting and or reporting a move to Barcelona or any other top European club and it appeared Bale had the world at his feet.
The anecdote just given is what annoys me about Bale. The media hype, and then the lack of impact after it. The rest of the 2010/11 season was relatively quiet for Bale, and he was anonymous in far too many matches.
When Bale had one of these games, hardly any fuss was made, yet when Messi, Ronaldo and the like play below their potential, there is a large level of discussion. Inconsistency is the primary reason why I don’t consider Bale as one of the world’s finest players.
Bale’s current run of fine form has led to many re-evaluating their opinion of him. Some have come out with quite frankly, (at least in my opinion) ludicrous statements. Jamie Redknapp claimed Bale is as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, while well known (to those in the UK) Sky sports pundit Jeff Stelling went a step further, saying Bale is better than Ronaldo.
The basis of his argument was Bale’s versatility. Although I agree Bale puts in more of a shift defensively than Ronaldo does, Ronaldo is a far superior player in every aspect concerning technical and even physically ability.
Stelling even went as far as saying Bale was quicker and stronger than Ronaldo, both are strong but Ronaldo is a real physical specimen, and in my opinion, Bale simply is not.
Bale has the potential to be a true great. He is ridiculously quick, strong and energetic. His ability on set pieces is up there with the best in the league and he is a hard worker. But the consistency levels are just not there. Sometimes he runs with the ball so much, the ball ends up going out of play.
Those who say he is on the level of Messi need to realise that Ronaldo and Messi are not only unstoppable at times, unstoppable nearly all of the time.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
Follow Joshua on Twitter @chelsealad1365
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