Gomes excited by Bale/Maicon match-up
Heurelho Gomes is licking his lips at the prospect of Gareth Bale and Maicon squaring off in Tottenham's Champions League clash at Inter Milan. The battle of the star wide men is arguably the pick of the head-to-head encounters at the San Siro as Spurs look to build on the impressive start to life among the elite of the European game. And Gomes is ideally placed to assess the merits of Bale, who has been one of the revelations of the season, and Maicon, who is widely regarded as the best attacking full-back around. That is because the 29-year-old goalkeeper has been a team-mate of both men: Bale at Tottenham, and Maicon for Brazil. "I am very excited to see how this will go," Gomes enthused. "Gareth is on fire and Maicon is a great right-back. "It is a Champions League game and we play against a great opponent. Maicon is a big, big player." Bale and Maicon's respective managers were also keen to sing their respective players' praises, with Spurs boss Harry Redknapp once again warning the former's suitors that his star youngster is "not for sale". "Certainly, I wouldn't want to be selling Gareth Bale," Redknapp said of the 21-year-old. "He is one of the very best left sided players in the world and he is still only a young boy. He is a fantastic player. Maicon has not quite hit the heights under new manager Rafael Benitez as he did under former boss Jose Mourinho. But Benitez said of the man named UEFA defender of the season last term: "He's the best right offensive full-back in the world. I believe he's improving every day. "There isn't any problem. We just have to wait for him and he will be back at his best." Right-back Maicon is not the only familiar face to Gomes in the Inter line-up, with Julio Cesar also a key player for the European champions. And the pre-match banter is already under way between the men who have previously vied for the Brazil number one jersey. Gomes said: "We were talking about the game on Monday and he told me they need to win and, if I let one goal in, this is going to be easy for them, but if not, it will be difficult for them. "He is a great goalkeeper and I respect him a lot. "I know him from a long time ago - he is a great guy and I think it will be a great encounter." Another reunion on Wednesday will be between Benitez and Peter Crouch, who the Spaniard both signed and sold while at Liverpool. Striker Crouch felt undervalued by Benitez but the latter insisted yesterday that was not the case. "He is a nice boy, very good professional, very good player," Benitez said. "We signed him and he was 14 games without scoring and I was supporting him after every single game. "So the relationship was fantastic. "I wanted to keep him but, unfortunately for him and not for us, we signed (Fernando) Torres. And (Steven) Gerrard and Torres together scored around 55 goals. "It was clear that he had to wait."
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