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Bale tips Ronaldo to land Ballon d'Or

ESPN staff
November 25, 2013 « Rodgers criticises Sturridge fitness | Chartbeat test »
Cristiano Ronaldo has starred for both club and country in recent weeks © Getty Images
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Gareth Bale believes Cristiano Ronaldo will win the 2013 Ballon d'Or after his hat-trick in the World Cup play-off against Sweden last Tuesday.

Ronaldo has emerged as favourite for the FIFA prize after his stunning performance in Stockholm, with his form for club and country leaving Bale to conclude that he will take the crown.

Bale, the world's most expensive player at £85 million, and Ronaldo, who later suffered an injury, were on target for Real Madrid in their 5-0 win at Almeria on Saturday.

And the Welshman told Ireland's Sunday World: "He's been brilliant for Real Madrid pretty much every game since I've been here. 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 play-off. The way he delivered there showed what a true world-class player he is.

"Cristiano has been great for me since I arrived, with him being able to speak English. I know Luka Modric very well from our time together at Spurs, and Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa both speak English from their time in the Premier League, so they are all very good to me."

Bale said his Spanish lessons were "coming along slowly" and the cultural differences he is experiencing after his move from Tottenham have taken time to adjust to, but he is relishing life in the Spanish top flight.

"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 added.

"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.

"I spoke with Michael Owen and Steve McManaman, and David Beckham was good enough to get in touch as well. I knew Jonathon Woodgate from our time at Tottenham, so I spoke to a few people about what to expect.

"They all gave me tips on life at Real Madrid and in Spain in general, and I'm very grateful."

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