Bale plays down Messi, Ronaldo parallel
Tottenham winger Gareth Bale insists he has a long way to go before he can be compared to Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale's standout season for Spurs saw him crowned as the PFA's Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year on Sunday night, fuelling rumours that the world's biggest clubs are lining up bids to lure him away from White Hart Lane in the summer.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas compared Bale to Ronaldo, one of just three players to scoop the PFA awards double, but the 23-year-old has distanced himself from suggestions that his presence on a team-sheet now sends fear into his opponents.
"I know there are people saying I can develop in the same way Ronaldo did but he and Lionel Messi have set the bar where everyone wants to be," Bale is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.
"If people are thinking I can emulate whoever, then that's their opinion. All I can do is try to keep playing my best football and let my football do my talking.
"I'm not too sure if I scare or intimidate teams at this stage. You learn from bad experiences, you take good experiences on board and you just try to keep progressing as a person and as a player and you just grow up.
"I feel I've grown up as a person, as a player. It's just about your motivation in the game. Thankfully I've got that and hopefully there is more to come."
Bale went on to pay a glowing tribute to Villas-Boas after claiming the Premier League's top gongs, as he has insisted his side's push for a Champions League finish is still alive despite some costly setbacks in recent weeks.
"I must say the manager has been amazing this year," added Bale. "I don't think he got given the time at Chelsea, but since he came to Tottenham, he's been amazing, all the hard work he puts in.
"We tried things in pre-season and spoke. Bringing me inside was one of them and obviously that has been a good decision in the end. He has been very good in that sense and hopefully we continue to do that and get into the Champions League again.
"That was the minimum aim at the start. We can still reach our objectives. We're playing some good stuff. We just need to keep focused now, not worry about anybody else."