Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rio Ferdinand explains the difference defending against Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will go head-to-head today as Portugal take on Wales in the semi-final of Euro 2016.

The two Galacticos have had varying levels of success in the tournament, Bale shining for an inspired Welsh team and Ronaldo and Portugal pretty much stumbling to the final four.

Rio Ferdinand had the pleasure - or misfortunate - of playing against both Real Madrid players when he was at Manchester United and gave an insight into just what Wales and Portugal’s defence can expect when they face football’s two most expensive players.


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“This is mouth-watering,” Ferdinand said in a video uploaded to his FIVE Magazine YouTube page. “This is what everyone wants. This is what everyone wanted to see. Big, best players coming up against each other.

“It’s always been Ronaldo versus Messi, which is OK because they’re both the two best players on the pitch, the stats tell you that, but Bale versus Ronaldo now, someone emerging to be one of the top level players.

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"He’s actually more similar to Ronaldo than Messi in the way they play, their stature, their size, how dynamic they are. Even the position that they play in, prefer coming from the wide areas and the power that they both possess in their physiques.

“If you was to put a player into a computer and say ‘I want to generate a footballer to go out there and be the best specimen’, one of these two’s bodies would pop out.

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

Get close to Bale

"Bale likes to get the ball in deep areas and when he gets the ball in deep areas the whole team go because you know what he’s capable of. He can run the length of the pitch with a football, past a few people, and put it in the back of the net.

“So you’ve got to prepare yourself to make sure you get someone to him early to slow him down, otherwise if he gets up at speed - as I’ve seen personally - there’s a different type of way to stopping these players.

“Ronaldo, if he gets the ball on the halfway line, right now in today’s game, different to when he was a kid. He would have been the same as Bale before - he gets the ball on the halfway line, he’s got the potential to run the length of the pitch and beat you and score goals.

Wales v Belgium - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016


“Bale, he’s not interested in doing that. He’ll pop it off and make his way up the pitch. When he gets to the final third, where if he receives the ball, there’s not a huge outlet of energy but he’s got explosiveness to get past you and get a shot off, and invariably he hits the target, and it’s a goal.

“So there’s a difference. You want to keep Bale as far away as possible, the same with Ronaldo when he gets the ball he’s going to stay around the last third and when he gets the ball you’ve got to be close enough so he can’t get his head up to get a shot off.

“Sounds easy sitting here, difficult I may add when you’re on the pitch."

Ferdinand discusses Bale vs Ronaldo

Who will come out on top: Bale's Wales or Ronaldo's Portugal? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Gareth Bale
Real Madrid
Rio Ferdinand
Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal National Football Team
Manchester United
Euro 2016

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