Football Expert & Columnist
Gareth the great
Jamie Redknapp says Gareth Bale is as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last Updated: 06/02/13 11:43am
Jamie Redknapp believes Gareth Bale should now be spoken about in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Tottenham winger was at his scintillating best in the Super Sunday victory over West Brom, with his explosive 67th-minute strike - his 12th of the season - proving to be the matchwinner at The Hawthorns.
Sky Sports expert Redknapp was left purring over his all-round display at the end of the game and says the Welshman, who turns 24 next July, is set to become one of the most important players in world football.
"It felt like it was West Brom against Gareth Bale today," he said.
"Every time he got the ball he did something productive. He went forward with the ball and there was a little bit of showboating, but he ran into areas, he was winning tackles at times and was brave as well. I just feel he's a different class and it's like he's got three lungs because he's so incredibly fit.
"He's worth the entrance fee. If you'd gone there as a neutral you'd have got value for money watching him play. He was absolutely world class.
"I'd put him up there with the Ronaldos and Messis of this world. There's no two ways about it, he's going to be anything he wants in the next few years.
"He's 23 years of age, he scores goals, he's great in the air and he's a fantastic athlete. There aren't any weaknesses there."
But while Redknapp was full of praise for the Tottenham man, he was rather less effusive in his comments about West Brom defender Goran Popov.
The full-back was shown a red card shortly after half-time for spitting at Kyle Walker and the Sky Sports expert says his team-mates will be furious with him for an act that put them at a huge disadvantage.
"It's disgraceful," Redknapp said.
"He's let his team-mates down and he's let himself down. How can you condone what he's done?
"At that stage I'm sure Steve Clarke was delighted with how they'd done. It was 0-0 and things were fine - and he decided to do that.
"Mark Clattenburg did really well in that he saw it and acted on it really quickly. It was completely wrong and scandalous and you don't do things like that.
"He deserves to be fined for that and whatever comes his way. He'll get three games for the red card and more than that he's cost his team by doing such a silly act.
"His team-mates had to run around for the next 35 minutes chasing Gareth Bale. I hope he goes in and apologises to them because he let everybody down."