Gareth Bale lauded as best football player 'on the planet'
PLENTY of football sides have been accused of being one-man teams over the years.
In the past the expression has probably been used in a derogatory fashion, but in the case of Gareth Bale, it truly is a compliment, from me in any case.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo might well take the popular vote for the number one and two players in the world, but for me at the moment, Bale is, on current form, the best player on the planet.
The Welsh winger has been sensational for Tottenham and Wales over the past few weeks. And the statistics don't lie.
He has scored eight out of the past 10 goals for Spurs and scored the winner in victories over Lyon in the Europa League and West Ham, Newcastle and West Brom.
Tottenham has not been beaten in the English Premier League in 11 games, and for most of those, Bale has been in mesmerising form.
His pace is his biggest asset, followed very closely by his magnificent left foot.
As a schoolboy in Cardiff, Gale's PE teacher had to put the restriction that he could not use his left foot in games as he was just too good for the other players at the school.
Not much has changed since. At 23, Bale has turned into the complete player and the world is his oyster.
Quite frankly if Messi or Ronaldo had been performing as he had over the past few weeks, the whole football world would have been shouting from the rooftops.
Those in the game have known about Bale since his early days at Southampton, where it was his pace which set tongues wagging.
But now at Spurs, and more importantly under Andre Villas-Boas, Bale has become the total package.
Not only is he quick, skilful and incisive, he is scoring goals.
And most of them are spectacular, just like his second goal in this week's 3-2 win over West Ham.
The spectacular dipping shot with his left foot was a perfect example of his brilliance.
It also showed his penchant for scoring late goals, a point not lost on his manager.
"He inspires people and is a direct influence on every single player," Villas-Boas said.
"Players like this take responsibility at key moments, he is tremendous."
Bale now has 19 goals for the season in all competitions, not bad for someone who began his career at Southampton as a pacy left-back.
Other managers too know the influence Bale can have on games and Sam Allardyce summed it up perfectly after watching his team surrender victory to the Bale-inspired Spurs, who now sits proudly in third spot.
"We've one man to thank for tonight's result and that's Gareth Bale," he said after the defeat.
"I can't say I've ever seen anyone score so many in such a short time. I think that's the best of the lot, and there's not a lot you can do about it at that stage of the game."
The task for Spurs and Villas-Boas is to try to keep Bale at the club.
Surely it won't be too long before he's lining up with either Ronaldo or Messi.
Now that would be a combination.