Ryan Giggs: Manager says Gareth Bale is Wales' greatest player

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Bale is Wales' greatest ever - Giggs
Friendly international: Mexico v Wales
Venue: Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California Date: Tuesday, 29 May Kick-off: 02:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Ryan Giggs hailed Gareth Bale as the greatest Welsh player he has seen after the Real Madrid forward's stunning Champions League-winning display.

Bale scored twice - including a sublime bicycle kick - as Real beat Liverpool 3-1 to clinch a 13th European crown.

It was also a British record-equalling fourth title for the 28-year-old, who is Wales' leading goascorer.

"To win four, to go to Real Madrid, and be so successful, he's got to be [the best]," said Wales manager Giggs.

"He's the greatest I've seen.

"Obviously I didn't see John Charles play and many others around that time but he's the greatest I've seen.

"Great players turn up at the right moments and make the difference, and he's done it twice now in Champions League finals."

Victory in Kiev gave Bale and Real a fourth Champions League triumph in five seasons, and a third in three years under coach Zinedine Zidane.

Bale also scored in the 2014 final victory over Madrid neighbours Atletico but, despite moments of soaring success, the Welshman's future at Real has regularly been under scrutiny.

He was left on the bench for Saturday's win against Liverpool but, within two minutes of his introduction, he produced one of the greatest goals to have graced a European final with an outrageous overhead kick.

Where will Bale be next season?

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is the first player ever to come on as a substitute and score twice in a European Cup or Champions League final

When he was interviewed after the match, Bale said he would discuss his future with his agent after losing his starting spot for several important matches this season.

The former Tottenham player - who joined Real for a then world record fee of £85m in 2013 - has often been linked with a return to the Premier League, though Giggs is unsure about where Bale's future lies.

"I don't know. I've always maintained he looks happy at Real Madrid," he said.

"It's a great club and a successful one. It's Gareth's choice. He's made the difference in a Champions League final - whether that has any bearing, I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

"As national manager, you want all the players to be playing regularly. It's not just one player. I think when you've got top players like that playing at top clubs, it can only help you.

"They're used to the quality, they're used to the pressures every day. Who knows really where he ends up? It's a bonus for me if he's playing regularly."

'The room erupted'

Bale's involvement in Kiev means he is not a part of Wales' squad for their friendly match against Mexico in California.

Whereas Mexico are using the fixture at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena as preparation for the World Cup, Giggs has named a relatively youthful squad as he aims to improve Wales' strength in depth after their failure to reach this summer's tournament in Russia.

Before training at the University of California Los Angeles on Saturday, the Welsh players and staff gathered at the team hotel to watch the Champions League final.

And with Wales' Ben Woodburn and Danny Ward not included in Liverpool's matchday squad, the travelling Welsh party were unanimously behind Bale and Real.

"When it [Bale's first goal] went in the room erupted," said Giggs.

"It was an amazing goal, just a couple of minutes having come on. But you're not that surprised in one respect because of what Gareth is capable of and what he's already achieved.

"Amazing scenes and it was great all the team could watch it and celebrate it together."

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