Bale looks to tame Inter again in Europa League
LONDON (AP) — Tottenham winger Gareth Bale grabbed the attention of the footballing world and destroyed the reputation of one of the game's top right backs the last time he came up against Inter Milan.
The teams meet again on Thursday — and there's no danger of Bale flying under the radar this time.
The Wales winger's goalscoring exploits for Spurs this season are receiving global acclaim and he has scored 10 times in his last eight matches heading into the first leg of the Europa League's standout last-16 match.
"He's one of the best players in the world at the moment, and probably the best in the world for me right now," Tottenham captain Michael Dawson said. "Some of the things he does would have (Cristiano) Ronaldo blush."
In 2010, Bale scored a hat trick in Spurs' 4-3 loss to Inter in a Champions League group game at the San Siro. In the return match at White Hart Lane, Bale tore apart the Inter defense in Tottenham's 3-1 win, humiliating right back Maicon time and again.
Home fans were singing "Taxi for Maicon" long before the final whistle and it can be argued that the Brazilian hasn't been the same player since.
Inter's defenders will know what to expect on Thursday and are sure to keep a close eye on Bale, who has been urged to play in a more central position in recent matches by manager Andre Villas-Boas rather than being stuck out on the left wing.
Inter, meanwhile, has been preoccupied by the antics of one of its own stars.
Antonio Cassano was dropped from the squad for Sunday's win over Catania in Serie A after a training ground scuffle with manager Andrea Stramaccioni. The Italy striker is back in contention now, though, and should start on Thursday.
"It's only normal that there will be a few discussions, especially when the results aren't coming and the tension is high," Inter midfielder Stankovic said. "As Esteban Cambiasso said, let's pretend Cassano was suspended and now he's back. It happened, but it wasn't so serious.
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