After an astonishing performance in Milan, there surely can’t be any doubt that the answer is a categorical yes. Who else is playing as well? Who else is having such a major impact? Who else has scored such a brilliant hat-trick on such a stage?

Had such a magnificent, irresistible hat-trick being scored by someone more high profile, someone more fashionable perhaps, he would be hailed as a new superstar. But Bale seems modest and unassuming. He is a workhorse with nuclear powered lungs and the work ethic of the Energizer Bunny.

Somehow, he seems to run as hard as fast and as direct in the last minute as in the first, leaving flagging defenders in his trail. His direct style of aggressive running, taking a man on and not only beating him but having sufficient composure to fire the ball three times unerringly into the corner of the net, beyond the reach of the keeper is thrilling, boys own stuff.

All the more astonishing that he was a left back for so long because he is so devastating as a progressive left-side midfielder.

It was interesting that after the game Redknapp was already on the defensive about keeping Bale at Spurs. He’ll know this performance will have revealed his talent for all the world to see and such talent will always attract the biggest, richest suitors.

At just 21 his career looks set to be a stellar one. There are so few players who come along with a game as irrepressible as Bale’s. It put me in mind of Rooney’s early days when he was an unstoppable force of nature, before being tamed into a more measured but less exciting player.

Hopefully Bale will continue to thrill us with such scintillating performances for the next decade and not end up in three years pissing in the street, smoking fags and bitching about his club’ s ambition.

The rise and rise of Gareth Bale is real British success story and one we should all rejoice in.

Editor’s Note: Johnny’s new book: “We Ate All The Pies: How Football Swallowed Britain Whole” has received the massive honour of being listed as one of William Hill’s Sports Book Of The Year 2010 – the biggest, most prestigious sports books prize in UK.

Buy it here via Amazon US or Amazon UK.