Gareth Bale is on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi
Gareth Bale is as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the view of Christian Karembeu, making the former France and Real Madrid midfielder confident Wales can beat Portugal and reach the Euro 2016 final.
Anticipation is rising ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final in Lyon, where Chris Coleman’s men enter into uncharted territory as the first Welsh side to ever reach the last four of a major tournament.
Portugal stand in the way of the Stade de France finale and many are pitching it as a clash between Real Madrid team-mates Ronaldo and Bale.
Karembeu knows a thing or two about succeeding at the Bernabeu as well as on the international stage, having been part of the French squad that won the 1998 World Cup and European Championship two years later.
And it is Bale’s Wales that the 45-year-old, who won two Champions League crowns in Madrid, has backed to triumph in Wednesday’s semi-final, putting the attacker in the same bracket as Ronaldo and Messi.
“Come on, he is already there (at their level),” Karembeu told Press Association Sport. “He is already there, there’s no stepsfor him to go there because he’s very clever, first of all.
“And also because you can see he is a leader. You didn’t see him do so much as he’s very measured when he does things.
“He always talks about the team and he’s acollective guy and this is good for Wales.
“I am pretty sure that maybe we are going to have another surprise. As has been seenin all the games, we saw a solidarity, cleverness, strength and, of course, efficiency with Wales.
With the Portuguese, of course, we know that sometimes they have very good games but still they were pushed to qualify,then there was penalty kicks.
“If you see the statistics, Wales are superior in these performances (at Euro 2016).
”The victor of Wednesday’s semi-final will face hosts France or world champions Germany at the Stade de France on Sunday.
Former Middlesbrough midfielder Karembeu is hopeful his compatriots will get there but is aware of the threat Wales would pose should they be the opposition.
Of course, we never know,” he said of Wales’ chances of winning Euro 2016. “We never know.
“There’s an entire nation behind Wales so it’s great to see how they win against Belgium.
“The manager was very clever, changed (things) and in the end a great result with the victory (against Belgium 3-1).
“3-1, can you imagine the goals? Beautiful goals. Incredible.”(PA)