Gareth Bale expects Cristiano Ronaldo to be anointed the best player in the world by winning the Ballon d’Or.
The Real Madrid superstar is every pundit’s favourite to scoop the award, after his sensational form in Portugal’s World Cup qualifying win over Sweden.
CR7’s hat-trick was the cherry on top of a 12 month period in which he scored goals with alarming regularity, and Bale says he is fully deserving of the title of football’s best.
"He's been brilliant for Real Madrid pretty much every game since I've been here,” Bale said of Ronaldo to the Sunday World, after both he and his team-mate scored in their club’s 5-0 win over Almeria.
“He's been scoring goals... for me, he’s the world’s best player right now.
"Surely he has to win the Ballon d’Or this year. I mean, there’s the goals he scored, the performances he’s put in, the pressure he was under the other night with Portugal in the World Cup playoff [against Sweden]. The way he delivered there showed what a true world-class player he is.”
The consensus is that Ronaldo has matured somewhat over the past season too, and that his ego is no longer rampant.
And according to Bale, CR7 has been the model team-mate since his own world record transfer to the Bernabeu.
"Cristiano has been great for me since I arrived, with him being able to speak English,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bale says while is yet to learn to speak Spanish, he is learning how to play a Spanish style of football.
And he is clearly enjoying the change of sporting culture and lifestyle.
"La Liga is a lot more technical than the Premier League. All the teams in Spain play a possession-type game, it's a very quick game and the speed of thought and movement is impressive," he said.
"It's definitely not as physical as the game in England, though, and maybe not as frantic, but Spanish football is very enjoyable to play in.”