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PACE As defenders will testify, Bale is as quick as they come. One of the few footballers who can score goals off his own back from inside his own half. Rodriguez isn't exactly slow, but this is hardly his leading quality.

Bale 10 (out of 10), Rodriguez 7 SKILL Because of his runs at full tilt, people tend to overlook just how skilful Bale is. But he has the tricks, jinks and back-flicks too. Rodriguez has a lower centre of gravity, ghosts past defenders and makes the game look easy.

Bale 8, Rodriguez 9 GOAL THREAT Bale fired 22 goals in 40 matches for Real last season, including the ones that mattered most.

Rodriguez won the Golden Boot after scoring six goals during the World Cup... and Colombia didn't make the final stages. Bale 8, Rodriguez 9 POWER One of the things that stands Bale out from the rest. Last season he scored goals for club and country by driving past defenders desperately to kick him Rodriguez is a quieter individual, but not easy to shake off the ball, either. Bale 9, Rodriguez 7 DRIBBLING Few can run as fast as Bale does with the ball seemingly glued to his feet. Rodriguez is a different type of dribbler, twisting and turning defenders inside out to earn himself a yard of space.

Bale 9, Rodriguez 9 PASSING Another area which is overlooked in Bale's game, but which is very good. Rodriguez is amongst the finest around, equally adept at finding a teammate with short passing or with a 50-yard diagonal ball.

Bale 8, Rodriguez 9 EXPERIENCE Bale has been around since he was 16 years of age and has a Champions League winner's medal to his name. Rodriguez is two years younger at 23, but has won the double with FC Porto and played in the World Cup.

Bale 8, Rodriguez 8 BEST GOAL Bale scored two solo stunners last season when he raced from halfway to find the net. One for Real against Barcelona, the other for Wales versus Iceland. Rodriguez's volley against Uruguay was the goal of the World Cup. Bale 10, Rodriguez 10 WOW FACTOR They each have this in abundance. Fans will move to the edge of their seats every time Bale has the ball at his feet in the coming months. But those levels are likely to be similar when Rodriguez is in possession, too.

Bale 9, Rodriguez 9 TOTALS Bale 79, Rodriguez 77 (out of 90)

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 24, 2014
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