Wales manager Ryan Giggs has claimed that no footballer in the world, bar Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, is in a class above Gareth Bale.
Bale has endured a difficult season at Real Madrid despite netting 12 goals in 29 appearances (including one in the Supercopa de Espana).
Having once been the most expensive player in the world, he is now no longer a guaranteed starter at Los Blancos after a campaign plagued by injury.
His international boss has leapt to his defence, claiming in his Sky Sports Class of ’92 Diary: “As a player, you’re always battling for your place, no more so than at a big club where it isn’t just about 11 players.
“But without a shadow of a doubt, when Gareth is flying he can get into any team in the world.
“He’s among the top players in the world. There’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and then there’s the next tier of players and he’s up there with the best of the rest.”
Bale scored a hat-trick during Wales’ 6-0 win over China last Thursday, surpassing Ian Rush as the country’s all-time top goalscorer. However, he did not fare as well in a 1-0 loss to Uruguay on Monday.
The winger will be hoping he has done enough to make the Real Madrid side for upcoming games against Las Palmas on Saturday, and more importantly, Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Juventus.