Ryan Giggs described Gareth Bale as “the greatest Welsh player I’ve seen” after the Real Madrid star’s stunning Champions League final goal against Liverpool.
Bale scored twice – the first with a gravity-defying bycycle kick when the score was 1-1 – after coming on as a 61st-minute substitute in Real’s 3-1 win in Kiev.
The 28-year-old now has four Champions League winners’ medal from five seasons in Spain, equalling the British record of former Liverpool and England full-back Phil Neal, who was part of European Cup-winning teams at Anfield in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“He’s the greatest Welsh player I’ve seen,” Wales manager Giggs said.
“Obviously I didn’t see John Charles play and many others around that time.
“But great players turn up at the right moments and make the difference, and he’s done it twice now in Champions League finals.
“And to win four, to go to Real Madrid, and be so successful, he’s got to be (the best).”
Giggs watched Real’s 13th triumph in European football’s premier competition at Wales’ Los Angeles team hotel ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Mexico.
And the former Manchester United star spoke of the “amazing scenes” when Bale converted a hopeful Marcelo cross into one of football’s most memorable goals.
“The team and all the staff were watching and when it went in the room erupted,” Giggs said.
“They were amazing scenes and it was great all the team could watch it and celebrate it together.
“It was one of those goals when you just go ‘wow’ and up there as one of the best Champions League or European Cup goals ever.
“It was an amazing impact, but you’re not that surprised in one respect because of what Gareth is capable of and what he’s already achieved.”
Bale – whose current contract runs until 2022 – cast doubt over his future after Real’s win as he said he needed regular football and would speak to his agent about his options this summer.
But Giggs said: “I’ve always maintained he looks happy at Real Madrid.
“It’s a great club and a successful one. It’s Gareth’s choice.
“He’s made the difference in a Champions League final – whether that has any bearing, I don’t know.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”