Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen believes Gareth Bale ranks amongst the very best players in world football.

The Welsh winger has been in inspired form recently, scoring a brilliant equaliser at Norwich last week before hitting the winner against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past, Vertonghen believes the 23-year-old would not be out of place in any team, and that only La Liga superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can truly be regarded as better players.

"Of course you have Messi and Ronaldo," Vertonghen told Sky Sports

"And then you've got a lot of players who are very close to each other and I think Gareth Bale is one of them, like at the level of the best teams in the world.

"He could play for every team in the world. For me he's a world class player."

The Belgian defender also spoke on Goran Popov, who saw red for the Baggies early in the second-half of their 1-0 defeat to Spurs.

Vertonghen played against the Macedonian international during his time in the Eredivisie, and insists that the former Heerenven star simply lost his emotions in the heat of the moment.

"I think he knows. It's an emotional reaction and I think he knows he's wrong,” added the centre back, who has also played on the left when required for Andre Villas-Boas.

"I played a few times against him in Holland as well. He's a very fair player, so I think it's just an emotional reaction."

Vertonghen is currently away on international duty, but will return ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s weekend clash against Newcastle at White Hart Lane.

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