Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale is better than his compatriot, and Manchester United star, Ryan Giggs was in his prime, according to Croatia’s head coach.
Igor Stimac saw Bale close up in his side’s 2-0 won over Wales in their Group A World Cup qualifier on Tuesday and felt he witnessed enough to decide that the Spurs man has reached a level the Old Trafford legend never did.
Stimac spent six years in English football and experienced the brilliance of Ryan Giggs on a number of occasions when facing Manchester United during his time with Derby County and West Ham United.
“When I was playing in England I played against Ryan Giggs and of course he was a good player too - world class,” he is quoted as saying in the Daily Post.
“But I think Bale is better than Giggs. He has all the skill of Giggs but he is stronger and much more difficult for a team to deal with because of that.”
Not only did he claim the White Hart Lane favourite to be better than Sir Alex Ferguson’s current longest serving star, he went so far as to claim Bale is challenging with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as one of the world’s leading stars.
“Bale is one of the top five players in the world, a fantastic wonderful player. I like him very much, very good,” he added.
Stimac is the third Croatian to praise Bale in a week, after former Arsenal and Real Madrid striker Davor Suker said the 23-year-old should move to the Spanish club.
While Bale’s former Spurs team-mate Luka Modric, who joined Jose Mourinho’s side in the summer, also urged the Welshman to join him.
Stimac may believe Bale to be the superior player, but he has a long way to go if he is to match Giggs’ career achievements – the 38-year-old has become the most decorated player in British football history during his Manchester United career.