"He's now one of our best players, every week he's strong and everyone's scared of him," Van der Vaart told Sky Sports. "Tonight he's up against Maicon, one of the best defenders in the world, and he's killed him.
"To everyone, the whole club, we need to keep this guy."
Bale's assists came after Van der Vaart had himself set Spurs on the way, firing home after a great run and through-ball from Luka Modric.
"I thought it was offside," admitted Van der Vaart, who was level when the ball was played. "I was happy to see it wasn't. It was a great goal and a great ball from Luka.
"It's a fantastic night to win 3-1 against the Champions League winners, a great feeling."