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Key stats for UCL semifinal matches

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale could become world's best - Rafael Benitez

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale could become the best player in the world within a few years, according to his former boss Rafael Benitez.

Bale, 26, played under Benitez during the Spaniard's spell in charge of Madrid earlier this season.

Benitez lasted just seven months in the job before being sacked by Los Blancos in January, but says he saw enough of Bale in that time to convince him that the Wales international can make it right to the top.

"I never had a moment's problem with Gareth. He was a very solid professional who listened," Benitez is quoted as saying by the Sunday People. "He did his work on the pitch and in the gym too.

"But what I see in him most is improvement. There are areas of his game that he continues to work on. He can get better.

"Obviously, he's a very good player now. But in a couple of years if he carries on, I don't see any reason why he could not be regarded as the best."

Bale, who is currently sidelined with a calf injury, has hit 13 goals in 15 La Liga games this season.

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