Rafael van der Vaart says he never expected Gareth Bale to play for Real Madrid.
The Dutchman, now at Real Betis, has spells at Los Blancos and Tottenham Hotspur, where he enjoyed a good understanding with Bale as Spurs threatened to challenge the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United for a regular place in the top four and earn a ticket to the Champions League.
In an interview with Canal+, van der Vaart recalled his Spurs days and spoke about what a good side they had at White Hart Lane. But he went on to add that he didn’t think Bale would leave for the Santiago Bernabeu as he’s not at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi.
"I had two very happy years at Tottenham. We had a good side with Bale, Lennon, Modric at Spurs. Harry Redknapp always wanted to play with the same system and I played behind Crouch. I scored a lot of goals," he said.
And he added: "I never thought Bale would end up playing at Madrid. Bale isn’t like Ronaldo or Messi; that’s another level."
Bale joined Los Blancos in a 93 million euro deal in the summer of 2013 and went on to score goals in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals in his first season, helping the club secure the much coveted Decima.