Spurs' 1981 FA Cup-winning hero Villa thinks Bale's performances against Inter Milan in the Champions League in the past fortnight bear comparison with those of the best footballers in the world.
"You have to compare with other players," Villa told Press Association Sport as he launched his autobiography, 'And Still Ricky Villa'.
"Yes, I compare with Messi, Ronaldo - he's playing that level at the moment.
"If he carries on like that, I'm very pleased for the club, for the supporters."
Bale's jaw-dropping displays have seen him linked with a mega-money move away from White Hart Lane.
"I'm expecting that the club will keep that kind of player and not sell anyone," said Villa.
However, the 58-year-old was more coy when asked whether Bale would have got in Tottenham's 1981 side.
"It's impossible to compare; I don't like to compare one team to the other," he said.
"In the old days, with Ossie (Ardiles), with Glenn (Hoddle), with Stevie (Perryman), with Garth (Crooks), with (Steve) Archibald, it was a great side.
"Today, it's another good side and that is great for the club, for the supporters."
He added: "Maybe this is another great, great team in the history of the club.
"Last night was a very, very important game against Inter Milan.
"You have to prove you can beat a team like Inter and Tottenham proved that.
"They have a few great players."
Bale's performances will go down in Tottenham folklore but he still has some way to go to attain the legendary status enjoyed by Villa, whose stunning solo goal against Manchester City is rated by many as the best ever scored at Wembley.
Villa said: "It's impossible to score that kind of goal in a final, a winning goal and everybody says to me, 'You remember?' Yes, I remember.
"The difference between that goal and others, I can say, is it was a South American goal in the English league."
It is almost 30 years since that famous moment but Villa has waited until now to publish his own account of the match and the rest of his football career.
He said: "I'm quite pleased with the book because it's my history, my life, for the last 40 years, I think: before coming to England, during England, after England.
"I didn't write the book for money.
"I wrote the book for the supporters to better understand Ricky Villa, because I had many ups and downs in football."
::'And Still Ricky Villa' is published by Vision Sports Publishing.