Jose Mourinho delivers damning Gareth Bale warning over expectations at Spurs

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has attempted to cool expectations Gareth Bale will be the same player he was when he left in 2013.

Spurs pulled off one of the deals of the transfer window by signing Bale on a season-long loan from Real Madrid after he had become disillusioned with life at the Bernabeu.

Monday will mark the tenth anniversary of Bale's hat-trick for Spurs against Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Three years later Bale was the best player in the Premier League and left the club that summer to join Madrid, where he would go on to win four Champions League titles.

Fitness and injury meant Bale was forced to wait before he could make his second debut for Spurs but in his three appearances so far he is yet to show the world-beating talent he possesses.

And speaking ahead of this weekend's clash with Brighton, Mourinho feels Bale is no longer the player he once was.

"Seven years is a long gap, so which player in the world is the same as he was seven years ago? Sometimes they're not better or worse, just different players," Mourinho told reporters.

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"You look for example to (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi and compare them with seven years ago. They play in different areas, different positions.

"They transform their qualities, try to explore their qualities in other responsibilities on the tactical system of their teams.

"I think it happens with the majority of the players. So for sure he's a different player."

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