Wales may have lost 2-0 to Croatia in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday but it seems that Gareth Bale has left a lasting impression on head coach Igor Stimac.

The former Derby County and West Ham defender believes that Bale is one of the top players in world football, and has even gone as far to declare that he is better than Manchester United's Ryan Giggs in his prime.

Gareth Bale
Bale celebrates after scoring against Scotland [Reuters]

Bale has emerged as one of the top wingers in the Premier League since moving to Tottenham and has been in sensational form for both club and country in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old scored a superb goal against Manchester United as Tottenham earned a shock 3-2, before slotting home a penalty and firing home a stunning strike to earn Wales a 2-1 win over Scotland.

He failed to score against Croatia, despite twice going close, but Stimac was suitably impressed with the performance and compared him with Manchester United legend Giggs.

"Bale is one of the top five players in the world, a fantastic wonderful player. I like him very much, very good," Stimac told the Daily Post.

"When I was playing in England I played against Ryan Giggs and of course he was a good player too - world class.

"But I think Bale is better than Giggs. He has all the skill of Giggs but he is stronger and much more difficult for a team to deal with because of that."

Giggs is largely recognised as one of the finest players to ever grace the Premier League and has won a myriad of trophies in his long and distinguished career with Manchester United,

Bale is still very much in the fledgling stages of his career and Tottenham will want to make sure they keep hold of the winger for years to come.

However, it seems there will be interest from around Europe with former team-mate Luka Modric suggesting that he is good enough to play for Real Madrid.

"It was nice to see my old friend Gareth and play against him. He's a top player," said Modric. "We had a good chat after the game. I think Harry [Redknapp] is right - it would be amazing for Gareth to come and play for Real Madrid.

"I think he can do it. He is certainly good enough to play at the highest level and I hope he will come to us."