Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale can become Tottenham's version of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale is enjoying his best season of a short, yet dazzling career and the 23-year-old has become one of the most devastating wingers in European football. Now Bale's career appears to be heading in a different direction. Villas-Boas has recently deployed the Welshman in a more central role, either as a number 10 in the hole or as an out-and-out striker.
One of Bale's idols, Ronaldo, spent the early stages of his career on the flank at Manchester United but now operates as a deadly centre-forward for Real Madrid, and Villas-Boas said: "You can see similarities in each of the players. Both of them are extremely technical players, and extremely powerful and pacy."
He added: "It's funny to see how both players compare. They grew up as strikers, but became wingers. Gareth was a left-back and moved to winger and now going to a more advanced role. Ronaldo is also able to play that role up front.
"Ronaldo is now 28, and has achieved so much in his career, he is an example to Gareth as to what he can achieve."
Bale has excelled down the middle in Tottenham's last two games, scoring decisive goals against West Brom and Norwich, so Villas-Boas appears set on playing his star man up front for the time being.
"Gareth is such a phenomenal player that he is able to do that kind of role," Villas-Boas said. "He has been scoring a crazy amount of goals coming in from the right wing or through the middle, rather than from the left or assisting from the left. So it means a player can explore his full potential through the middle.
"The most important thing is to get the players feeling well about what they do for the team. And I think Gareth feels well in that position. If he's able to fulfil his full potential it's something we have to consider for the future.
"We know that he has grown out on the left. On the left he becomes a different type of player. I'm not sure if it limits his full potential."