Thibaut Courtois may have lost yet another battle to Gareth Bale during the Euro 2016 qualifier between Wales and Belgium on Friday night but the world-class stopper has heaped praise on his nemesis.
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The two lined up against each other for the first time in since Bale scored the crucial second goal in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid a year ago.
The Welshman repeated the trick at the Cardiff City stadium as he bagged the only goal of the game after 25 minutes after capitalising on a poor defensive mistake from Radja Nainggolan to coolly slot the ball past Courtois.
Wales now lead group B by three points and are closing in on qualification for a major international tournament for the first time in over 50 years.
Despite the result Courtois was full of praise for Bale and hailed him as a top player for keeping his calm on the big occasions:
The pair could be lining up alongside each other next season with reports in Metro Sport last month linking Bale with a move to Chelsea following a difficult season in La Liga in which his car was attacked after El Clasico against Barcelona in March [via BBC Sport]
In addition he faced a backlash from a section of Los Blancos supporters in the aftermath of their Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Serie A champions Juventus [via Mirror Sport].
However, it would appear Bale wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu judging by his recent comments via BBC Sport where he speaks about him ambitions for next season.
New Madrid manager Rafael Benitez reportedly has plans to re-establish Bale as a left-winger next year with Cristiano Ronaldo set to operate as a centre-forward [via Mirror Sport].