Ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier match against Wales, Irish legend Johnny Giles has stated that Gareth Bale needs to move away from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo before he can become a truly great footballer.

Legendary former Irish midfielder Johnny Giles, who made 527 appearances for Leeds United during hey days as a footballer, believes Gareth Bale still has a “bit to go” before he can be considered as a modern day great. Giles also insists that the “final step” towards reaching greatness can only be attained after he moves away from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.

“Bale has a bit to go before I would call him a great player. It seems to me that he needs to get away from Ronaldo to make the final step,” Giles was quoted as saying by Skysports.

After making his mark with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, Gales was signed for what was a world record transfer fee by Real Madrid in 2013. The 27-year-old, who has made 145 appearances for Real Madrid since then, has gone on to win two Champions League winners medal in the four seasons he has spent in Spain so far.

However, despite his consistent performances for the club, Bale’s achievements has been overshadowed by that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s, who still remains the club’s main talisman. Giles went on to praise Bale for his work ethic and staying grounded despite his fame, something Giles feels Ronaldo lacks.

“I really like Gareth Bale, first as a player and secondly as a human being.

“I don’t know him but everything I’ve seen leads me to think he’s a good lad with very few airs and graces and he remains rooted in his family and friends back in Wales.

“While Ronaldo, with all his money and medals, still feels the need to show off, still stands on the tips of his toes to make himself big in team photos, Bale gets on with his work and plays for the team,” Giles added, reported Skysports.

Giles insists that Bale, who has earned 65 caps for his nation since making his international debut in 2006, has been a genuine leader for his national side and feels that Wales do not have a decent team without him. He said, “Wales has been a great outlet for Bale and we have seen by the way he leads the team that he has a genuine passion and delight in playing for his country.

“I don’t buy the idea that Wales are a decent team without him. They have Aaron Ramsey who thinks he’s a great player but isn’t. Without Bale, they would be very average.”

Wales are set to face the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday in their next World Cup qualifier match. Ireland are currently at the top of the points table in Group D with three wins and a draw in their four outings so far. Wales, on the other hand, are third in the points table having won just one of their four matches, and they are in desperate need of all three points if they are to keep up their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup 2018 alive.

Image – Getty

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