Gareth Bale As Good As FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi? Yeah, Right

Adi-Oula SebastianCorrespondent IINovember 24, 2010

Ballon d'Or and double wood
Ballon d'Or and double wood

The Hype is (un)real

The UK-based media is as biased as it gets. Before the FIFA World Cup they declared the English national team as serious contenders for the trophy. A convincing qualifying campaign led them to believe it would be easy for Fabio Capello’s men to steamroll the opposition into submission. The outcome…well let’s just say the Three Lions didn’t even come close.

This is not a deliberate attempt to diminish or to belittle the accomplishments of the national team, just a mere example for exaggeration. It is well-known that Fabio Capello is not good at winning knock-out tournaments, granted he won the Champions League with AC Milan but who wouldn’t have with the players at his disposal?

You can argue that his success in 1992 can be largely attributed to Arrigo Sacchi, who built an almost unbeatable side during his reign. Still the press felt the need to champion Fabio Capello as the man who would lead them to glory. The facts are there; what made them believe it would be different with the national team?

This is a prime example for the never-ending stream of exaggerations and unjustified hype.

When Speedy Gonzales races against a turtle

In recent weeks and months one player in particular has been hyped into stratosphere’s, or better yet, new realms – Gareth Bale.

Over two legs the young Welshman tormented and tore apart Inter Milan’s Maicon - a remarkable feat. But the Brazilian is not the world-class player he used to be two or three years ago. Anyone who regularly follows the Italian league will tell you that Maicon is past his best. He doesn’t warrant the tag world-class anymore.

Sure, Tottenham have played admirably against the treble winners and current Champions League title-holders but bar Manchester United or FC Barcelona - how many teams have played to their best of abilities in the following campaign AFTER winning the title?

A couple of great performances (including the showing against Inter) and all of a sudden Gareth Bale is considered a world-class player. Well, after his superb showing against Inter Milan one expected him to deliver this kind of performance against Bolton…um super/wonder/world-class Gareth Bale was found wanting.

Gareth Bale’s performance against Manchester United anyone??? Hardly world-class. Is it just me or am I unjust when I demand some form of consistency?

Isn’t there a phrase “Form is temporarily, class is permanent”, I guess the first part applies to Bale.

Is Gareth Bale world-class? No way.

As Good As Messi

But that hasn’t deterred Welsh caretaker boss Brian Flynn from making the adventurous prophecy that Gareth Bale could become as good as Lionel Messi.

Out of all players that grace the football pitches on planet Earth, Flynn felt inclined to compare Bale – whose greatest contribution to the beautiful game thus far, is the dissection of washed-up Maicon – to Lionel Messi.

The age difference between those two – a meager two years. That’s exactly the same difference between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Two years ago the latter was championed FIFA World Player of the Year as well as Ballon d’Or winner while Messi came in second for both awards. Last year the roles reversed with Messi being crowned as the world's best.

Well, playing for a genuine big team doesn’t hurt your chances either to win the coveted awards but then again, the English press has already championed Tottenham as a major European team.

Lionel Messi has scored against some of Spain’s and Europe’s biggest teams: Real Madrid, Sevilla FC, Bayern Munich, Olympique Lyon, Arsenal FC, Manchester United….and the list goes on.

If the Bale-rule applies (one or two outstanding games) then Zlatan Ibrahimovic is by default a Champions League big-game player. After all, he did score a brace against Arsenal, right?

For now, Gareth Bale is a bright prospect but to make the bold prediction that he could become as good as Lionel Messi is bordering on the ridiculous.

Why can’t the UK press/pundits/experts be happy with having a hot prospect or quality player? Why must a UK-based player hyped into the stratosphere?!? When Ronaldo left Manchester the media was quick to put Rooney into the same category as Messi and CR7. Umm, those two put up ridiculous numbers week in and week out while Rooney hasn’t scored from open play in over seven months!

As far as I can tell Gareth Bale is overrated and nowhere near world-class, let alone having the potential to be as good as Messi.

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