London: Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale insisted he'd yet to reach his peak after another sensational European display led to renewed comparisons with the world's best players.
Bale struck two superb free-kicks as Spurs beat Lyon 2-1 in the Europa League last 32, first leg, at White Hart Lane on Thursday.
Two seasons ago Bale shot to global prominence by giving Inter Milan's Maicon a torrid time in a Champions League match.
And Thursday's display will only intensify speculation about how long north London club Spurs can hang on to their prize asset, with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid reported to be lining up bids at the end of the season.
Wales international Bale, who can operate on the wing or in central midfield, has now scored seven goals in his last five games for club and country.
But the 23-year-old was adamant he'd yet to reach his peak.
"It's probably the best I've been playing so far in my career, but I've still got room for improvement," Bale said after Thursday's win.
"Season after season I have to improve in all areas. I just want to keep doing that, keep working hard and, hopefully, keep getting better.
"I've just got to keep my head down, keep working hard, keep trying to keep my form," he added.
Bale's free-kick goals against Lyon, the first from 35 yards, the second a 25-yard curler with just a few seconds of injury time remaining, were worthy of Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I knew it was the last kick of the game but I had to get it up and over the wall and thankfully I saw it go in," Bale said.
"I've been practising for ages now from all sorts of distances."
Admiring Spurs keeper Brad Friedel, watching from the other end Thursday after starting in place of Hugo Lloris, said: "Only a few players in the world have perfected the technique that Gareth has.
"As a goalkeeper you can't tell where it's going to go, and it moves in the air. It's not impossible to stop, but it's very difficult.
"Gareth having that in his repertoire is fantastic for us."
However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Friday that talk of comparing Bale to Barcelona's Lionel Messi or Real Madrid's Ronaldo was over the top.
"Bale has the potential to develop and become the players that you compare him to," he said.
"However, Messi has won two or three Champions Leagues, a few championships, scored 95 goals in a year, so let's not go too quick.
"You (the British media) are always very quick here, but let's slow down a little bit."