Soccer: Red-hot Kane gives Spurs cause for Real optimism - Llorente
By Richard Martin
MADRID (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur are close to competing at the same level of European champions Real Madrid thanks to the prolific form of Harry Kane, the London club's forward Fernando Llorente said on Monday ahead of their Champions League clash.
England striker Kane leads the scoring charts in Europe's elite competition with five goals in Spurs' games against Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kane has also six strikes in the Premier League and has scored 13 times in his last nine matches for club and country, but the acid test will come against Real at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
"We have great players who are capable of playing very good football and we have Harry Kane, who at the moment is turning everything he touches into a goal," Spaniard Llorente said in an interview with Marca newspaper.
"There isn't a great deal of difference among the top teams in Europe and I'd count Tottenham among them."
Real have flattered to deceive in La Liga this season as they bid to defend the Spanish title for the first time since 2008, dropping points in four of their eight games, but like Spurs they have won both Champions League matches, convincingly beating APOEL and Dortmund.
They sit third in the domestic standings, five points behind leaders Barcelona and scraped an unconvincing 2-1 win at Getafe on Saturday thanks to a late strike from Ronaldo.
Llorente, who helped Juventus knock Madrid out of the 2014-15 Champions League semi-finals, recognised that Zidane's side are one of the top teams in the world but he believes Spurs can still find chinks in their armour.
"You have to keep their best players under control, you can't just try and take the ball off them because they are much better in possession now and when they don't have it they are still very dangerous on the counter-attack," added Llorente, who has also played for Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Swansea City and the Spanish national team.
"Madrid can kill you off easily because they have more quality and are more effective than most teams, but they always give you a chance."
(Reporting by Richard Martinm editing by Ed Osmond)