Tottenham star Gareth Bale admits he is flattered at being described as one of the best players in the world after a series of scinitilating displays for club and country.
The 23-year-old has scored 23 goals in total this term, leading to speculation that Real Madrid have made him their number one transfer target for the summer. Bale's powerful cutting runs, and his ability to bamboozle goalkeepers with logic-defying free-kicks have led to him being compared with the biggest superstar currently on the books at the Bernabeu - Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tottenham's talisman says he is honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as Ronaldo and Barcelona ace Lionel Messi, although he claims to be unaware of just how much of a stir his superb performances have caused this season. Bale said in an interview with Sport magazine: "I think anybody would love to be mentioned alongside the best in the world."
He added: "It's flattering, but I don't really look too much into it. I don't get the newspapers or read too many reports, so I don't really know how much hype there is. Obviously my friends tell me things, but I just treat every day as normal and focus on my job.
"I don't model my game on Ronaldo's. I have my own way of playing and it's not exactly the same but we do have similar attributes. I just like watching the best players: seeing Messi and Ronaldo. I've watched Ronaldo in the past and you do take things from other people's games to try to improve as a player, which I have - hopefully."
Bale grabbed the world's attention in 2010 when he scored a thrilling hat-trick against Inter Milan in the San Siro and then went on to embarrass Maicon with a breathtaking display in the reverse fixture.
Some doubted whether Bale could improve much more following those two games, but his game has come on immeasurably since. The former Southampton player now operates in just as devastating fashion down the centre as he does out wide and he has almost doubled his tally from the 2010-11 season with at least 13 games remaining.
Bale says Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has played a significant part in his development, improving his tactical awareness since the days of the previous manager Harry Redknapp.
"Harry was more 'go out there and play how you feel and express yourself'. With Andre, there's a certain shape and a style we play," Bale said.
"I think Harry was more free and let you do what you want. Andre does that too, but there's a lot more tactical work. I think it's something that's good to learn. We've done well this year and I think that's down to our defending as well as attacking."