As Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale nears his 100th Premier League appearance, the statistics put him on a par with, and perhaps even marginally ahead of, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Welshman has drawn plaudits for at least a couple of seasons now and, more recently, has been compared to the Real Madrid talisman. Whilst the 23-year-old might not want to be compared for his tendency to go ground – Bale picked up his fourth yellow card this season for simulation away against Fulham on Saturday – there many more reasons to be cheerful about the comparison.
Bale has, in a short space of time, worked his way through the ranks and broken into the Spurs first team, under Harry Redknapp, and now cemented his place as their most important player, their most influential player, and their most consistent performer.
His form over the past three seasons has been nothing short of breathtaking. His conversion from a left-back to a left-sided winger has given him the opportunity to prove himself as an attacker and, in a position where Ronaldo is surely regarded as one of the best in the modern game, Bale is gathering ground on the Portuguese man.
In his 99 appearances in the Premier League Bale has accumulated 21 goals and 13 assists. Ronaldo, in the same number of games, tallied 19 goals and 8 assists – two-nil to Bale.
Bale also operates within the Spurs team as the architect of the attack – his ability to find his teammates and his vision to spot them in the first place is certainly something that they rely upon, perhaps even more so since the departure of Luka Modric. Bale has created 175 chances on goal in the Premier League, where Ronaldo had created 138 for Manchester United. Three-nil.
However, whilst Bale has made a higher number of passes than his Portuguese counterpart, he has done so with less accuracy – of his 2975 passes, 74% of them were on target compared to Ronaldo’s 82% over 2581.
Ronaldo is not known for his defensive qualities particularly – something in which Bale definitely has the edge over him having began his career as a defender – Bale has made to date 166 tackles to Ronaldo’s 104. Four-one to the Welshman.
All the recent speculation about the future of Gareth Bale – will he or won’t he stay at White Hart Lane? Real Madrid are thought by many to be leading the race to lure him away from the North Londoners. But one thing that is certain about the future of Gareth Bale – is he going to be one of the best players in the world?
It appears he already is.
image: © Jan S0L0