Zidane hails 'unique' Bale
Zinedine Zidane says Tottenham's Gareth Bale has impressed him more than any other player in Europe this season.
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The Welshman has been in dazzling form this term, scoring 27 times for club and country, and his displays have caught the attention of the former World Cup winner, who has been tipped to join the coaching staff at Real Madrid next season.
11. Gareth Bale
Zidane went to watch Bale in Tottenham's Europa League tie against Lyon in February and described him as a "unique" talent due to his combination of pace and technical ability.
He told Sky Sports: "This year the player who's impressed me most is not actually playing in the Champions League. He's playing in 'the other cup', and that's Bale.
"He's unique. He makes things look easy, his pace is frightening, his acceleration is unbelievable because of his ability to go through the gears in very little space.
"Plus, he's very good technically which is also important. We mustn't forget that he plays football very well!
"And he's really impressed me. I've seen him two or three times live, including recently at Lyon, which wasn't necessarily his best game, but where every time he got the ball he can surprise you."
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas described Bale as "world class" after another man-of-the-match performance against Swansea at the weekend and Zidane agrees he deserves to be spoken about in such terms.
But he doesn't feel the 23-year-old can yet be compared to the likes of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He's perhaps not quite at the level of the other two, but he's different," Zidane added.
"So personally I don't think he's far off."