Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino pays tribute to Tottenham forward Gareth Bale
Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino feels Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has become the Premier League's Lionel Messi.
Last Updated: 04/05/13 12:14pm
Comparisons between the flying Welshman and Barcelona's talismanic playmaker are inevitable, as both are considered integral to the plans of their respective employers.
Pochettino believes Bale has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as the reigning World Player of the Year, with the Spurs flyer having recently collected a PFA award double.
He admits the former Saint is not yet on the same level as Messi in terms of influence on how his team performs, but concedes that the 23-year-old would not look out of place in any of European football's top sides.
The Argentinian tactician, who will face Bale and Spurs at White Hart Lane on Saturday, said: "There are some similarities between Bale and Messi. There are similarities in the way they play and their characteristics. They are both very quick, both left-footed and they both have a winning mentality.
"It is clear Bale is very decisive in how his team plays, although maybe not as much as Messi.
"He is a very decisive player - an amazing player because of his speed, his strength and his goal-scoring ability. He has showed that throughout this season and I rate him very highly.
"He is in the top 10 players in the world. When we talk about the world's best players they can play in any league in the world. In this context, Bale can succeed in La Liga but it would be a great loss to the Premier League if he goes."