Gareth Bale hopes he can one day go on to emulate the achievements of Cristiano Ronaldo, after revealing that he has been trying to model his game on the Real Madrid star.
The Welshman came to Tottenham Hotspur's rescue for the umpteenth time on Wednesday night, scoring a marvellous solo goal to snatch them a draw at Norwich City.
Bale's game has developed immensely since he moved to White Hart Lane in 2007. The 23-year-old has converted himself from a gangly left-back to one of the most powerful and muscular attackers in the game.
Bale's ability to cut in from the touchline and fire powerful shots at goal stirs memories of Ronaldo's time at Manchester United, and like the Portuguese, he has also become adept at playing through the middle, as he showed in the second half at Carrow Road. The former Southampton man, who has regularly been linked with a move to the Bernabeu, admits he looks up to Ronaldo and hopes one day that he can replicate the success of the Portuguese, who has won one Spanish title, three English ones, and a host of individual honours in his career.
Bale said: "You put your targets high. The way Ronaldo plays, he's the best all-round player in the world. People have said things in the past, and the stuff he does is similar to what I do.
"He is a benchmark for every player who wants to be that good, and it's useful to look at other players, watch how they do things and take my game to another level. Look at the way he takes free-kicks - he scores a lot of goals from them. He is obviously doing something right and he is on another level.
"Can I get there? One day. He's one of the players who we all try to match. Apart from Lionel Messi, Ronaldo is on a different planet and I'd love to be half as good as him."
Ronaldo would certainly have been proud of the quality of Bale's strike against Norwich. The winger picked the ball up ten yards inside his own half and motored forward 50 yards, past three opponents, before sending a powerful drive past Mark Bunn in the home goal.
"I saw a couple of players in front of me and managed to get past them, jinked inside and was able to get a good strike off," Bale explained. "It was quite nice. The most important thing though was to get us back into the game."
Despite Bale's strike, and a late effort from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tottenham barely troubled the Norwich goal, leading to suggestions that the London club will push hard to sign a striker before the transfer window shuts tonight. Bale admits Spurs were not up to scratch in the first half.
"It was obviously great to get the goal but we're a bit disappointed," Bale said. "In the first half we were nowhere near good enough, not at the races. At half-time, the gaffer told us what we needed to do and we came out in the second half a completely different team.
"They played quite direct and it was difficult, especially with the wind swirling around. In the second half we controlled the game and played some good football. We had quite a few chances and were quite unlucky not to win in the end."