Dawson: No-one better than Bale
Tottenham captain Michael Dawson thinks there is no better player in the world right now than Gareth Bale.
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Bale scored his 49th goal for Tottenham on Sunday to help his team to a morale-boosting 2-1 derby win over Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
The strike against the Gunners was his 20th of a fine season, which has seen him compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Some critics, including Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, claim Bale is not in the same class as Ronaldo, who has scored 33 goals for Madrid this season, and three-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, but Dawson disagrees.
"Gaz is up there with Ronaldo and Messi in terms of ability - he's one of the best players in the world at the moment, and probably the best in the world for me right now," Dawson said in a promotional interview for Topman.
"Some of the things he does would have Ronaldo blush. His goal this season against Norwich where he picked the ball up in his own half and dribbled past all those players before having the calm and composure to put in the bottom corner... He's been brilliant and credit to him."
Bale has played a huge part in lifting Tottenham up in to third place recently, scoring nine times in his last eight matches.
Although he took his goal superbly on Sunday, Tottenham's victory owed more to some lion-hearted defending from Dawson and his partner at the back Jan Vertonghen.
While Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker resembled statues at the other end of the pitch, Dawson and Vertonghen were at the top of their game, nullifying the threat posed by Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud with some superb last-ditch tackling.
"He has been brilliant from day one," Dawson said of Vertonghen, who snubbed Arsenal to move to Spurs last summer for £10milllion.
"He's a great centre-half and a top guy.
"He has everything in his game. He wants to play, his feet are unbelievable, he can score goals and you saw the kind of tackles he can make.
"We have a good squad of centre backs here. Younes (Kaboul) is coming back in to training, and we have William (Gallas), myself, Caulks (Steven Caulker), and Jan, so the manager has some big decisions (to make), but I'm sure he will enjoy (making them). Competition and quality is high. It makes everyone want to do well."
Dawson admits signing a player of Vertonghen's calibre from Ajax, where he was captain, shows how determined Spurs were not to be hindered by the sales of players like Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart last season.
"You always try to improve," Dawson said. "You can't stand still in football because teams move on. We keep improving. We have a fantastic squad in that dressing room, everyone is hungry to do well.
"We want to achieve things."
Spirits are high in the Spurs camp following Sunday's win, which put the team seven points ahead of Arsenal, but Dawson knows how his men cannot think they have secured Champions League qualification just yet.
Tricky games against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton remain for Andre Villas-Boas' side, who will also need no reminder that they surrendered a place in the Champions League last season by letting a 10-point lead over Arsenal slip in the home straight.
Dawson thinks Spurs have the qualities to make sure that does not happen this season, however.
"We have got some tough games coming up but the Arsenal win has put us in a good position," the 29-year-old said.
"We showed fighting spirit and commitment that you need to win football matches.
"We didn't have much of the ball for the first 20 minutes but we showed grit and determination."