Harry Redknapp has claimed the credit for turning Gareth Bale into a global superstar when they were together at Tottenham.
The Wales international flourished under the 66-year-old during his tenure at White Hart Lane, but Redknapp revealed that he had to toughen Bale up to make him into the world's most expensive player.
Bale scored 20 league goals for Redknapp's Tottenham and the QPR boss believes that his coaching gave the Real Madrid star the platform to become one of the biggest names in football.
Redknapp revealed in his autobiography – which is being serialised in the Daily Mail – that he felt Bale was pampered before he arrived at the club from Southampton and ordered his staff to make him tougher.
"All he needed was to be toughened up to emerge as a star player," he said. "We had to tease that combative streak out of him.
"Gareth seemed too soft to be a defender so we decided to try him further forward.
"He was always getting a little knock in training, too. He'd go down then limp off and I always thought the physios made too much fuss of him.
"It was the same pattern every morning: Gareth would tumble and stay there, and they’d all go running over. In the end I told them just to leave him alone."
Bale put himself into the spotlight of European football after his hat-trick against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League in 2010 and Redknapp felt that affording him more attacking freedom played a pivotal role in his development.
"We shifted him to wide left and moved Luka Modric inside so they would link up," he added. "And we were beginning to hurt teams.
"I predicted he would be our Cristiano Ronaldo. And that's just what he was. I don't think I have ever seen one player terrify a team so completely as Bale did Inter Milan.
"The bottom line is that Gareth can play anywhere. I think Carlo Ancelotti, his coach at Real Madrid, will view him the same way as me — a free spirit, not tied to any one position."