Champions League final: Lineker hails Bale

Gareth Bale is the only Briton remaining in the Champions League and Gary Lineker believes his success makes him one of the finest British footballers in history.

Winger Gareth Bale
Winger Gareth Bale

The Real Madrid forward hopes to be passed fit to participate in his team’s bid to become the first ever to retain the Champions League when in Cardiff tomorrow night they meet Juventus in the final.

Bale, 27, has contributed much to them winning the competition in two of the past three seasons since his then world-record £85.3m transfer from Tottenham in 2013.

He has continued to improve, as demonstrated when inspiring Wales to the last four of Euro 2016.

And Lineker – who also played in Spain, as well as alongside Glenn Hoddle and Paul Gascoigne, believes he is among the British Isles’ very best.

“I’d put him right up there with the best British players of all time,” said Lineker, 50. “He’s got to be in certainly the top 10.

“I didn’t catch much of George Best and Bobby Charlton but obviously they’d have to be right up there.

“Kenny Dalglish I would certainly put in there, Bryan Robson – but he suffered a bit with injury – Glenn Hoddle if he’d been playing for a different country. Gazza nearly.

“Bale’s won a lot of things, helped Wales be more successful than they’ve been in a long time, and he’s playing for one of the giants of world football, so he’s right up there, and still in his prime.

“I’ve always loved him as a player – he’s a wonderfully-gifted footballer.

“I’m sure he really wants to be part of this game, in his hometown.

“He’s had his share of injuries this season, which is a shame, but overall at Real Madrid, he’s proven himself as a world-class player.

“This game isn’t going to define him one way or the other, but it could add to his reputation.

“He has pace, technique, two feet, finishing – a scorer of great goals. He can beat people, he’s good in the air – Gareth’s got all those kind of abilities that the very best have.”