Redknapp: Bale Is Like Ronaldo – But He Must Sort Himself Out

Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp says Gareth Bale still reminds him of Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his current struggles at Real Madrid, but says he must “sort himself out”.

The 25-year-old has been booed by his own fans and criticised by the Spanish press on multiple occasions this season after an inconsistent run of form since the turn of the year.

Redknapp signed Bale from Southampton for Tottenham in 2007 and turned him from a left-back to a winger, and insisted last week that the Welshman remains one of the top five players in the world.

However, Redknapp believes Bale needs the freedom to roam if he is to return to his best.

He told AS: “For me, he’s like Cristiano. You’ve got to give him the ball; once he gets it, he’ll gain a yard, then two and put himself in a position where he can shoot with the kind of power that no one has – or dribble through defences which is something that only a few players do in today’s game. I’d give him all the freedom in the world.

“Both of them are players who like to roam freely, Bale slightly behind… They are players who feel more comfortable without any tactical restrictions. It would be amazing to see them both at full speed, 30 or 40 yards out and sprinting towards goal, running at defences.”

Redknapp has also refuted suggestions that Bale has encountered difficulties because of his inability to perform in the same team as Ronaldo, with the 68-year-old pointing to his performances last season as evidence.

He added: “When he left to join Madrid, I did worry that he might be left in Cristiano’s shadow. But he did well last season; playing in the role he was given. He scored some extraordinary goals.

“This year, I see he’s getting criticised. He has never received this amount of attention and maybe that’s affected him a little. But he’s got to get over it, be strong and believe that he can turn his situation around.”

Bale’s problems have drawn comparisons with his start to life at Tottenham, where he went 24 games before winning a game in the side, and Redknapp has warned the Wales international he must show great character if he is to bounce back.

“He needs to work hard, learn the language. He’s got to dive in head first,” he added. “It’s no good for him to be going over whether it would be better if he came back home. He’s at one of the greatest clubs in the world, if not the greatest. This is a man’s world and he’s got to sort himself out.

“Whenever he was a bit low and disheartened, I’d put my arms around his shoulders. ‘Give the ball to Gareth,’ I’d tell his team mates, in front of Gareth. ‘Today, every player out there was afraid of you,’ I’d tell him, ‘what a great player you are lad.’ I’d repeat that and Gareth would always respond well.”