at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh winger Gareth Bale is a 'diamond' who should be protected rather than branded a diver, according to the club's former wide man David Ginola.
Bale has been in superb form for club and country this season but some of his recent displays have been marred by yellow cards for apparent simulation.
He has been booked in Tottenham's last two games – Saturday's 3-0 win at Fulham when he tumbled rather theatrically after slight contact by Steve Sidwell and last week's victory at home to Liverpool.
However, Ginola, who played more than 100 games for Tottenham, said Bale should not be judged harshly.
“When you get a reputation it's really (hard) to get rid (of),” Ginola, told the BBC on Tuesday.
“It's really easy when you run that fast with that pace on the pitch at players – you don't need a big tackle to go down. A little push would be enough to lose the balance.
“When you have players like that who entertain you week in, week out you have to protect that. It's so precious.
“You have to take care of them because they are little diamonds in a league like the English Premier League.
“I thought he was a diamond when I saw him play against Inter Milan and score three goals (in 2010). He is special.”
Bale's six league goals and numerous assists have helped Tottenham climb to fourth in the Premier League although he injured his hamstring against Fulham and faces a fortnight on the sidelines. – Reuters