Real Madrid defender Marcelo firmly believes that Cristiano Ronaldo remains the best player in the world but he predicts that Gareth Bale could one day emulate the achievements of the Portuguese superstar.
Bale grabbed the headlines this weekend with a stunning performance that saw him score his first hat-trick for his new club and provide an assist for Karim Benzema as Madrid secured an emphatic 4-0 win over Vallodolid.
The Spanish press was full of praise for the former Tottenham midfielder who excelled in the absence of Ronaldo who missed the game because of a thigh injury.
Bale has inevitably had to live with comparisons to the ex-Manchester United forward after moving to Madrid for a huge transfer fee and while Marcelo feels he will one day be on the same level, he believes Ronaldo is the top performer in world football.
"You can't compare them. Cristiano is better than every other player and everyone in the team knows this. Bale is also a great player and is on the right path," Marcelo told Spanish newspaper Marca.
The 24-year-old now has eight goals and six assists since moving from Tottenham in the summer and feels he is finally starting to show his best form, though he admits that Ronaldo remains the true superstar at the club.
"I now feel part of the team and I'm enjoying myself. My teammates have made things easier for me. They've all helped me," said Bale before praising Ronaldo. "He's a step above the rest, he's the best.
"It's a very special moment for me to score my first hat-trick at the Bernabéu. It's great to score, but also to give assists to my teammates. It's a pleasure."
With Ronaldo likely to miss another two weeks of action there could be further opportunities for Bale to grab the headlines as they face Copenhagen in the Champions League before a trip to Osasuna on 14 December.