Given that Alan Hutton was languishing in the Aston Villa reserves for the first half of the season, it is quite the turnaround that he will face Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Lionel Messi all within the space of a month over next few weeks.
The right back moved to Real Mallorca on loan in January, and has already taken on the first of those three as part of the defence that shipped five against Real Madrid at the weekend.
Next on the agenda is Wales' visit to Hampden Park this Friday, and Hutton has said that he believes playing against Ronaldo has given him the perfect warm up for Tottenham Hotspur's in form winger. Hutton has said that Bale has all the attributes to end up being considered in the same bracket as Ronaldo and Messi, and the Scot could be in a uniquely qualified position to comment on that by the end of April.
Bale has already made his mark against Scotland this season, scoring twice to give Wales a crucial 2-1 victory in Cardiff back in October. As with Ronaldo, Bale has been given increased freedom to roam around the attack this season, and he has responded to that freedom superbly, netting sixteen times in the Premier League this season for Tottenham Hotspur.
Clearly he is not yet at the level Ronaldo is producing, with the Portuguese forward already on 27 league goals for Real Madrid, whilst Messi has a scarcely believable 42 for Barcelona. However he is in the form of his life, and it would not be surprising to see him be the key man for Wales on Friday night.
Hutton saw an ex-Spurs teammate score a screamer for Real Madrid against him at the weekend, when Luka Modric's recent improvement for the Spanish side continued with a similar goal to the one he scored against Manchester United in the Champions League, and the Scot will now be keen to ensure that Bale doesn't also find the net against his side on Friday.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald