Gareth Bale has lavished praise on Tanguy Ndombele, comparing the Tottenham midfielder’s skill on the ball to Brazilian legend Ronaldinho.
It seemed like a real coup for Tottenham when they shattered their transfer record to land Ndombele in a £53.8m deal from Lyon in the summer of 2019.
The Frenchman had not only stood out in Ligue 1 but also dominated top-class midfielders that he came up against in the Champions League.
Spurs decided to hold on to the 23-year-old and it seemed like their decision had been vindicated as the midfielder started last season in sublime form, being deployed as a number ten by Mourinho.
However, much like the rest of the Tottenham squad, Ndombele’s performance levels dipped considerably in the final few months of the campaign.
The former Lyon man has demonstrated glimpses of undoubted quality but it remains to be seen whether he will go on to fulfil his potential at N17.
Having trained with Ndombele for a full season, Bale is certainly convinced that the midfielder has the ability to be one of the best.
When asked which player has surprised him the most in his career, the Real Madrid man told Sky Sports: “I’d probably say Ndombele this season. I hadn’t seen too much of him when I was watching Spurs games the season before.
“I think obviously he had an adaption period coming over to England because it’s quite a big jump. Just seeing what he does in training and on the pitch, I was very surprised.
“The amount of ability he has is actually frightening, the stuff he does with the ball kind of reminds me of the things you see Ronaldinho do with the ball. It is quite nice to watch.”
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Ndombele’s raw ability on the ball has never been in question. However, with the rise in sport science and the evolution of tactical analysis, football has moved away from those kinds of flair players and more towards athleticism and stamina.
That is perhaps why we are seeing fewer attackers like Ronaldinho, with coaches now favouring players who are disciplined off the ball. While there is undoubtedly still room for flair players in the game, Ndombele is yet to prove that he has the stamina for the English game.
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