Gareth Bale no longer a favorite at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale has become such a peripheral figure at Real Madrid at this point that he is even being left out of squad for the biggest games of the season.

The Welshman has once again been excluded from Zinedine Zidane’s list, this time for Saturday’s crunch derby with Atlético Madrid.

Bale was always a regular fixture for the big games against  Barcelona, Atlético and in the Champions League. But even that now seems a thing of the past for him.

During this busy January period for Madrid, which has seen them play two Super Cup games in Saudi Arabia, two Copa del Rey and three LaLiga fixtures, Bale has only featured for 142 minutes. Fifty two of those minutes came against Unionists in the last-16 of the Copa, where the Welshman scored for the first time since September 1 (a goal that his teammates celebrated more than he did).

The official excuse for this loss of prominence was first the chest infection he come down with just before the team departed for Saudi Arabia, and then the sprained ankle he suffered in Salamanca – more firewood for his extensive injury record.

When the team returned from Saudi Arabia, Bale trained normally, but was then left out of the squad by Zidane for Sevilla. Last Friday, it was more of the same. Madrid’s number 11 trained with the rest of the squad with no problems but still found himself excluded from Zidane’s 19-man list, meaning the Welshman’s omission is more down to a technical decision than a fitness issue.

The French coach has continued to back Bale in public. “Gareth is one of ours and I will always defend my players,” he stated before traveling to Zaragoza last week. But the truth is that nowadays Zidane feels comfortable dispensing of Bale completely, even when the job at hand is to attack a defence like Atlético.

 

Why Gareth Bale enjoys playing for Wales

Gareth Bale says he gets more excited to play for Wales than he does for Real Madrid as confusion continues to swirl around the player’s current situation.

Zidane said Bale was not injured but not available before the Eibar game last weekend and he joined Welsh training at the start of the week appearing in good spirits and fully fit.

“I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales (than Real Madrid),” said Bale during Wales pre-match press conference on Friday. “It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.”

The Welsh striker has been criticized for never fully learning Spanish with Marcelo saying that he sits beside Bale in the dressing room and there is rarely a whole lot said.

Bale said: “With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feel more comfortable. But it doesn’t change what I do on the pitch.”

Bale fit for Wales

Bale has not played with Real Madrid since before the last international break when he was injured playing against Croatia. He was subsequently called up by Ryan Giggs, who said that Bale is feeling fine and was confident he could play in the Azerbaijan and Hungary games.

Real Madrid players have been asked about Bale and they all say they are keen for the player to come back feeling 100%. Nacho says he remains an important player and Casemiro says he doesn’t really care what he does off the field.

The Welsh striker has also been criticized for his enthusiasm for golf, which some claim is absent when it comes to football. He left the stadium early on a number of occasions recently but Zinedine Zidane says it is within the team’s rules.

SER reported recently that Bale might have played his last game for Real Madrid with just a couple of weeks until the January transfer window. He was close to a move to China in the summer but that fell apart at the 11th hour and while he re-established himself in Zidane’s plans, that didn’t last very long due to his mysterious recent injury.

Which way from here, Bale?

Jiangsu Suning are ready to put everything into persuading Gareth Bale to move to China this summer.

Zinedine Zidane admitted that Real Madrid are looking to sell the forward after leaving him out of the squad to face Bayern Munich on Saturday night.

Bale currently earns 17 million euros a year after tax at Los Blancos and, with Jiangsu backed by the extremely wealthy Suning business that also owns 70 percent of Inter, he would be able to earn a similar amount in Asia.

Jiangsu currently boast the likes of Eder and Alex Teixeira in their ranks, but wouldn’t be the only Chinese club interested in signing Bale.

Shanghai Shenhua, who recently appointed Quique Sanchez Flores as coach, would be able to offer Bale a salary higher than the one he currently receives at Real Madrid.

However, a move to China isn’t the only option for Bale. As per Marca, Tottenham are interested in the Welshman and are ready to pay between 50m and 60m euros to bring back their former player.

Real Madrid have no need for Gareth Bale – Zidane

Gareth Bale was nowhere to be seen in Real Madrid’s first pre-season match, and coach Zinedine Zidane admitted afterwards that it would be better if the Welshman left the club.

Los Blancos succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Bayern Munich in Houston with Bale not getting any minutes at all, as the club look to offload the player this summer and Zidane made that position clear.

“Bale was left out because the club are trying to sell him,” Zidane told the press after the game. “If he can go tomorrow, it would be better.

“It’s nothing personal, I don’t have anything against Bale, but I have to make decisions. There comes a time when it’s time to change and it’s good for everyone to go their separate ways.

“Leaving is the decision of the coach, and also the player, who knows the situation.”

Looking at some the debutants for Real Madrid, particular attention was paid to Japanese youngster Takefusa Kubo, as well as the performance in general.

“It was his [Kubo’s] first game,” Zidane said. “We aren’t happy with the defeat, it’s obvious we would have liked to win the match, but the main thing was getting his first official match out the way.

“There are some positives. We started well, and then changed the team completely in the second half. We had some problems under pressure.

“We are still in pre-season, and in the second match there will be a lot of changes. For me, the most important thing isn’t who started the match.”

Jonathan Barnett has responded by criticizing the coach and by pointing to the success that the Welsh forward has helped bring to the club.

“Zidane is a disgrace,” Barnett told AFP.

“He shows no respect for a player that has done so much for Real Madrid.”

The agent was then asked if the player is on his way out of Real Madrid.

“We are working on it,” he said.

Hala Madrid: We must continue like this

Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace, plus goals from Marcelo and Kroos were all Real Madrid needed to sink Valencia on Saturday, and the spectacular win wouldn’t be sweet if not for the previous disappointments.

Ronaldo converted two penalties at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia to prove his contention for another Ballon d’Or is achievable.

 

Penalty 1.jpg

The Portuguese international player’s determination, confidence and dynamism were put to work after Martin Montoya’s fouls in the penalty area.

Montoya hacked down Ronaldo for the first spot kick and carelessly pushed Benzema for the second.

Penalty 2.jpg

The first half goals were followed by another late double from Marcelo and Kroos whose efforts consolidated Madrid’s three points from the game.

Having suffered elimination in the Copa del Rey midweek, and still licking the sore wounds, their victory over against Valencia proved inspiring ahead of the upcoming Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

“We must continue like this,” all the players agreed in their social media posts on Madrid website after the match.

BBC Picture.jpg

For the first time in 280 days, coach Zinedine Zidane featured his dreaded attacking force, the Karin Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo (BBC).

Madrid veteran goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, was also at his very best, making a number of huge saves to keep his team safe.

How Gareth Bale toppled Cristiano Ronaldo as Real Madrid’s Highest Earner

The rivalry between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo is far from ending, not even now that the Welshman has outstaged him as the highest earner at Real Madrid.

On his arrival to Santiago Bernabeu, Bale was nicknamed a “ballhog” for not passing the ball to Ronaldo.

However, football critics argued in favor of the former Tottenham henchman, saying his action was a response to an alleged gang up, spearheaded by the Portuguese against him.

Media reports critisized CR7 for an alleged discontentment following rumors of a world record transfer fee paid by Madrid to sign Bale from Tottenham. This was the beginning of an acrimony that seem to be far from ending.

Neil Moxley wrote in a report published by Sunday People that the handwriting was boldly written on the wall from Bale’s first day at Bernabeu.

Football analysts say Ronaldo should take the blame for starting out on a bad footing with the 27-year-old. Rumors were rife that he was unhappy when Bale arrived as the club’s next big star.

Madrid players were playing one-touch with Bale when Ronaldo blessed him with a very dangerous sliding tackle, reports confirmed at that time.

Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo

Later in their training, Bale dribbled through Ronaldo’s legs to the applause of teammates, and the Cardiff-born star raised his two middle fingers to Ronaldo’s face – a “f**k you” sign that shows he doesn’t give a damn to the “burning coal”.

Though both players have made their marks on the pitch, playing for Madrid and their different countries, the Welshman’s stunning six year deal which is worth a whooping £600,000 a week, has placed him above Ronaldo in Madrid’s payroll.

The Wales international footballer is also said to have a BILLION euro buy-out clause attached to his new contract.

In 2013, Bale became the world’s most expensive player when he moved to the Bernabeu from Tottenham though the media accused Madrid of underplaying the transfer details in order not to outrage CR7.

The Brit has so far, won two Champions League titles and the Copa del Rey.

Gareth Bale is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo as Pepe looks on

Bale will take home approximately £350,00-a-week after tax – more than Ronald’s current wage of £290,000.

The new contract has effectively squashed any hopes left for Manchester United and other English Premier League clubs that were said to be on his trail recently.

 

Bale applied a good business strategy during his contract negotiation which came at a very favourable time. He was offered a new deal earlier in the season but stalled on agreeing it, knowing that Real Madrid won’t be allowed to sign new players until January 2018 due to a ban from FIFA.

Bale joins Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez as the fourth player to sign a contract extension with Madrid since October.

“Real Madrid CF and Gareth Bale have agreed to the extension of the player’s contract, which ties him to the club until June 30, 2022,” said a club statement.

The Portuguese star looks favored to grab his fourth Ballon d’Or after Messi outstaged him for a fifth win, last year.

Reports say CR7 is negotiating his deal and is expected to sign a new contract soon. If his new salary happens to be anything above Bale’s current pay, it’ll be all good for the club and everyone but the Welshman is having a good at this moment.

John Toshack, the former Madrid coach who gave Bale his international debut at the age of 16, says Bale has all that he needs to be the best player at Madrid.

“I see a Real Madrid enjoying Bale at the top of his game for two or three years. I believe Bale will win the Ballon d’Or in his career. In a few years, he will become the leader,” Toshack said of the former Southampton fullback.

The Welshman has scored 62 goals, including 50 in La Liga, with only 135 appearances. His influence in the team makes him a part of Real Madrid’s deadly BBC forward line with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Sami Khedira, Gareth Bale, Real Madrid's assistant manager Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe take part in a training session

Gareth Bale: Real Madrid’s Highest Earner says “It’s not easy if you come from Britain”

Gareth Bale, who just extended his contract with Real Madrid as the club’s highest earner, says he’s completely astonished at the route he took to success. He will be playing for the Spanish giants in the next six years.

The Wales international footballer admits it’s not common for British players to succeed abroad, so it’s understandable why his achievements call for celebration.

“I had one season where it wasn’t the best but that made me grow up as a player and person,” he reveals.

“It made me learn to deal with whatever is thrown at me.

“In football you have good seasons and bad seasons, there was no real turning point,” he said.

“Sometimes things go for you, sometimes they don’t. If things are going bad and you keep working hard, things will turn around eventually.

“I understand with media you’ll get good and bad press. But if you take too much notice you’ll put yourself down.”

Answering a question on how life in Spain affected him as a British, the Welsh forward interestingly adds“It’s changed me quite a lot.

“The reason I came was to try something different. It’s never easy. British players travelling abroad are usually not successful but I wanted to try.

“I feel more comfortable each year I’m here. I’m improving my Spanish, my family are more settled. I fully expect to see out my contract here. I don’t know when I’ll retire. I’m not looking past the next six years.”

The 27-year-old joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee of 100 million euros in 2013 though the figure was widely debated in the media for Ronaldo’s sake.

Bale has since celebrated two Champions League trophies and the King’s Cup with Los Blancos.

“I grew up watching the Premier League and Real Madrid, but when you have the opportunity to play here you cannot waste it,” Bale said.

“I’m only thinking about Real Madrid and I am very happy to be here.”

The heavily-built forward gave a press release for the first time after putting pen to paper in an agreement that will keep him at Madrid until June 2022.

He said: “Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world.

“I definitely made the right decision. Real matches all my ambitions. It’s been three great seasons. I hope there are six more years like this. I feel very happy and loved here.

“When I first arrived, I wanted to win trophies and succeed,” Bale said. “I wanted to improve my football and my game. It has changed me as a person.

“I’ve experienced great moments. Winning the Champions League for this club is the pinnacle.”

Mourinho reportedly held secret meetings for Gareth Bale

Speculations on Gareth Bale making a switch to Manchester United has always been there, and latest reports confirm it’s more likely to happen sooner than later.

Manchester United want sponsors Adidas to help lure Gareth Bale to Old Trafford

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring a goal for Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho reportedly held a secret meeting with the Real Madrid player’s agent and United’s Chief Ed Woodward. The parties met sometime last week in Manchester.

According to Daily Star, this 2016/17 might be the last for the 27-year-old in Spain, following his unwillingness to remain under Cristiano Ronaldo’s overbearing influence.

The tabloid confirmed that Mourinho and United’s Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward held talks with Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett.

A recent report from The Sun says it’s possible that Adidas will spearhead this transaction as it did for Paul Pogba, adding that the Portuguese coach has set a £100 million target for the Welsh international footballer.

Bale and Manchester United have sponsorship agreements with Adidas, just like Pogba.

In 2015, the Madrid striker signed a 10-year deal with the sportswear giants valued at £750 million

Morata: ‘I’m Having The Best Time Of My Life.’

Alvaro Morata spent last two seasons on loan at Juventus after Real Madrid sold him on loan in 2014 but he was lucky to get a chance to return and prove himself again at the Spanish capital.

The 23-year-old who represented Spain at Euros 2016 as well as played a few successful games for Madrid since his return, has shown he has nothing else to prove on his abilities.

Image: Alvaro Morata

Morata claims he’s having the best time of his life at Los Blancos. Earlier in mid-August when he arrived Madrid, the player said: “It is a day of great joy for me. I’m back at home. It has been two long years and a long wait to return.

“I thank those who have trusted me. Sometimes you have to mature,” said the youngster at his unveiling.

“I have come to give my life, as I have always done.”

Morata did exactly what he promised, adding this time that he’ll “never regret the decision he made to re-join the Spanish giants”. The forward admits playing for Los Blancos is a chance he will cherish forever.

“It was difficult for me to be at the Euros and have five or six calls a day from different places,” Morata explained how he felt as big clubs struggled for his signatures while the European Championships lasted.

“I was focused and professional enough to cope with the situation I was in. I spoke to a lot of Coaches, but I told them that Real Madrid was my dream.

“I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn’t gone back to Real Madrid. Zidane called me and told me he wanted me in his team and that he had a lot of faith in me.

“I couldn’t be happier. I am living all my dreams and I just hope it lasts.”

Morata believes his teammate Gareth Bale will soon be the world’s best player, arguing also that Madrid play more entertaining football than arch-rivals Barcelona.

“In a few years, Bale will be the best player in the world without a doubt.

“The current European champions are Real Madrid and I would love to play badly and win the Champions League again.

“I like Madrid’s football more than Barca’s because it is more direct.”

“[Talking about what attractions the new Spain Coach Julen Lopetegui brings as La Roja prepare for matches against Belgium and Liechtenstein] Lopetegui is just what the Seleccion needed. Yesterday he told us that he had the same ambition as us. There are reasons for confidence.

“He makes all his players feel important.”

In his mid-August statement, Madrid president Florentino Perez said of Morata: “We are going to be able to count on one of the best strikers in the world, who we know and who has known the club since childhood.

“He has become one of the best. He has returned home, earning it with talent and the ability to sacrifice.”

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Antoine Griezmann: Superstars Reflect On The 2016 European Best Player Award.

As the 2016 European Best Player Award heats up the media, it’d be right to grant a brief assessment on what the accolade stands for. Cristiano Ronaldo wants the trophy, Antoine Griezmann needs it, and Gareth Bale dreams it could be his. Their fate has been left in the hands of journalists to decide, using the same format as is applicable to the old Ballon d’Or.

Image shows contenders for 2016 European Best Player Award–Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Gareth Bale.

The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award is an association football award given to players who ply their trades in Europe. The winner is chosen with considerations to performances and achievements recorded the previous season.

Established by UEFA in 2011, the award aims at reviving the European Footballer of the Year Award (Ballon d’Or) which was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or. It also replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award.

Since its inception, the award has been won by Lionel Messi a record two times (2011, 2015), Andrés Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribéry (2013) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014).

Female players are also awarded the UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award, after its introduction in 2013.

Ronaldo hasn’t been able to avoid talking about the prestigious 2016 European Best Player Award after winning it in 2014, and finishing among the top three which include Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann.

Image: Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portugal captain spoke with World Soccer magazine about his expectations. In his words:

“I see it as a privilege. Since the prize has been around I’ve almost always been in the mix. I think there have been four editions of the prize and I’ve been nominated for three, if I remember correctly, so it’s an honor,” he said.

“It’s a sign of a great season on an individual level and on a collective level too, with Real Madrid having won the Champions League, and obviously it’s a beautiful moment in my career and I’m happy.

“It would be something very important for me. It’s obviously an individual trophy. The most important thing was that we won trophies as a team.”

Image: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann.

Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann thinks he deserves the award, after offering his best for France at the 2016 European Championships though they lost the finals to an inspired Portugal.

There’s no doubt that Griezmann was pivotal to Atletico Madrid’s campaign for last season’s La Liga and UEFA Champions League.

The 25-year-old Frenchman may have had “bad luck” on one too many occasions but he hopes this highly anticipated award will bring “a change of destiny” despite Ronaldo posing a threat after netting 35 times and leading Portugal to glory.

He said: “I am proud to be a finalist, that means I am on the right track and have to continue that way.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I deserve this award because I’ve had a great season with both club and the national team.

“It has been [an] unforgettable season, first in the Champions League with Atleti, then [the] Euros with France. Unfortunately, we didn’t win a trophy and it was a blow for us, as well for our fans.”

Image: Pepe

In another interview, Ronaldo brought an extra to the three-man list, saying that Pepe [his countryman and teammate] was central to Portugal and Real Madrid achieving glories last season.

Though the 33-year-old defender was included in this year’s European Team of the Tournament, CR7 says Pepe deserves the award more than him.

He told UEFA.com in an interview: “In my book, Pepe was extraordinary this year.”

Zinedine Zidane Rates Real Madrid’s Performance Against Real Sociedad.

Zinedine Zidane admits that nothing pleases a coach like when his team puts up a good performance and crowns their efforts with victory. The Frenchman praised Real Madrid players, especially the goal scorers–Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio–after the club won 0-3 at Real Sociedad.

Image: Zinedine Zidane

The 44-year-old had a brief discussion with Marca after the victorious match.

“We know that, but we put in a good game right from the start although we did suffer a little. It’s important to start the league like this,” he said, admitting that it’s not always easy for teams to start with a win on away games.

What pleased you most? “The players working as a team. They all play a big effort. We attacked and defended together. That’s how you can achieve things – by fighting for every ball”.

Security at the back: “We had to get off to a good start, as we usually tend to struggle”.

Marco Asensio: “I had to take a decision on him and in the end he started, and he did well. Like Isco and James. Drawing up the team makes my head throb. We have taken three very important points from a very complicated ground. Asensio had a great game, but so did Mateo (Kovacic) and the others. What matters is the collective side of things and we created a lot of chances”.

Asensio – too much praise could be a bad thing… “He’s working hard. He’s got quality, and talent. He’s good on the ball and he can split open rival defences. His goal tonight was fantastic. I’m happy with all of the players”

The squad: “I’m trying to make sure that all of them feel important. I’ve got a lot of quality players and all of them are doing exceptionally well – not just in attack but defensively as well; we are not letting our rivals create many chances and we kept a clean sheet”.

Bale: “I’m ahppy for him, because physically he was lagging behind the rest a bit although you couldn’t tell tonight. He got off to the best possible start, scoring an early goal. Anoeta is a difficult ground if you don’t start creating chances, because you are never going to get many. He said that this was going to be an important year for him and so far, he’s proving himself right”.

Bale, Ronaldo, Asensio and Zidane Made Headlines.

In their first games for the 2016/17 La Liga season, Barcelona and Real Madrid displayed character against rivals Real Betis and Real Sociedad. La Blaugranas won 6-2 and Los Blancos followed with a 3-0 victory.

Marca presents how the international media compared key players from both sides and their performances.

Image shows Bale in action against Real Sociedad.

Mirror: “Bale starts season as Madrid’s leader”

“Zidane puts faith in youth” “Asensio shines again” “Pepe may struggle to get his place back” “Alvaro Morata is desperately keen to succeed”

“Bale is a genuine superstar and with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema absent the burden of leading this attack will rest on Bale. Fortunately for Zidane, he was more than up to the task as Bale stepped up to the plate with the opening goal before doubling his tally late on.”

“No Ronaldo, no problem.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Bale fires Madrid to victory”

L’Equipe: “Madrid do what was required against Real Sociedad”

“The win was less striking than that of Barcelona but the points gained are the same which is the most important thing for Madrid”

Le Figaro: “Madrid start their 2016/2017 campaign perfectly”

“Bale shows that he’s still in great shape after the Euros by scoring at the start and end of the game”.

“Young Marco Asensio rubber stamps the good feelings felt about him during pre-season and scored the second goal”.

Corriere dello Sport: “Madrid immediately responds to Barça”

“Success for Los Blancos who, after a tennis-like win for Barça against Betis (6-2), respond with authority in Anoeta”.

“Cristiano absent, Bale takes the weight of the team upon him once again and opens and closes the scoring. Between them, the diamond that is Asensio, again ahead of James and Lucas Vázquez”.

Image: Gareth Bale

La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Bale strikes, Real Sociedad K.O.”

“The European champions win 0-3 in San Sebastian: a brace from Bale and a great goal from young Asensio”.

“Despite being without Ronaldo, Pepe, Benzema, Modric and Navas, Madrid dictacted the rhythm and looked dangerous, especially with Morata”.

Tuttosport: “Madrid respond to Barcelona: 0-3 against Real Sociedad”

“A debut victory for Champions of Europe, Real Madrid, without Cristiano”.

A Bola: “Real Madrid defeat Real Sociedad”

“Madrid leave victorious after their trip to Real Sociedad”.

“Zidane leaves James and Isco on the bench. Waging an attack of Asensio and Morata”.

O Jogo: “Real Madrid win with the Portuguese, but with Bale”

“The Welshman scored twice on the night that Asensio impressed again after his great Super Cup goal”.

“Without Cristiano, Pepe and Coentrao Los Merengues battered Real Sociedad 0-3”.

Image: Marco Asesnsio

Bild: “Two for Bale in a victory for Real Madrid”

“The Spanish side had no problems and won with a clear 0-3 even without Cristiano, Modric, Benzema, Pepe and Keylor”.

El Tiempo: “With an assist from James, Real Madrid win 0-3 against Real Sociedad”

“With an early headed goal from the Welsh star Gareth Bale and an exquisite goal from the surprise package, Marco Asensio, Zidane’s side smooth the way with a first win of the season, without missing their main man Cristiano Ronaldo”.

Bale Says Ronaldo Was Born To Score Goals.

Gareth Bale has followed up with his earlier statements that the Euro 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Portugal was never personal for him and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Welshman once again squashed rumors from the media that says there’s no cordial relationship between the two Real Madrid stars.

Image: Gareth Bale talks with Cristiano Ronaldo after the encounter.

The former Tottenham winger heaped praises on his Portuguese teammate at a press conference after Wales lost 2-0 to Portugal.

Bale referred to Ronaldo as a goal-getter, adding that he was born to score goals.

In the spirit of sportsmanship, the Welshman who was overshadowed in the game by Cristiano Ronaldo’s exploits accepted defeat with dignity.

“It is a difficult one to analyse now but we’re obviously disappointed,” he told UEFA’s official website.

“We’ve got to be proud first and foremost. We’ve given everything on the pitch, off the pitch.

“We’ve tried to enjoy the experience of the tournament. We want to thank all the fans for all the support we’ve had, it’s been absolutely incredible.

“We’re disappointed, naturally, but they got the first goal and were a bit lucky on the second. We tried our hardest to get back in the game.

“We fought until the last second and we’re sorry we couldn’t get to the final but we gave everything.

“He [Ronaldo] is a natural goalscorer and he scored yet again. It’s not about them, it’s about us.

“We’re disappointed but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’re a proud bunch and we’ll stick together and lift the spirits and go again.

“Nobody expected us to get this far but we’re very proud and have no regrets. We’ll continue to battle on.”

“They shut up shop quite well. They limited our opportunities and fair dues to them. We have no regrets.

“We’re a proud nation and proud of what we achieved. We obviously would have loved to have gone to the final and challenged for the trophy, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Image: Gareth Bale at a press conference before the Euro 2016 derby between Wales and Portugal.

Gareth Bale Says He’s Already Laughing Last.

Image: Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale has revealed the time has come for him to laugh over Real Madrid teammates who used to poke fun at him for Wales’ lack of success in world football. They were seen as minnows but now, look who’s sitting on the throne.

The Madrid superstar say, “I’ve taken a lot of stick…” for the sake of his national identity but now he’s already laughing, hoping to shed tears of joy soon.

Wales have come a long way, overcoming lots of obstacles on the way to reach Euro 2016’s last four standing.

Bale and his countrymen now have only Portugal on their next door to the finals of the European Championships. The opposition is represented by Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe who are respected foes in the competition but not undefeatable.

Worrying about Toni Kroos’ Germany or Paul Pogba’s France potentially waiting in the final is not on the minds of Wales players right now. They’ll have to count their blessings before naming them one by one.

Image: Bale celebrates Euro 2016 semi-finals qualification with daughter on the pitch.

“I’ve taken a lot of stick in the last few years, so it’s good now to be part of a major tournament and to do great things with the national team. It’s great to be a part of this,” Bale told AS, before revealing how Real Madrid teammates had taunted him in the past.

“When they saw that we had lost or we were beyond 100th place in the FIFA rankings, and they used to tell me I would have nine weeks’ holiday instead of two. The usual. I remember Kroos joking that we would only play three games. It’d be nice to meet him in the final!

“It’s a good laugh. We’ve obviously exceeded peoples’ expectations. We know that and we’re enjoying it.”

Gareth Bale: The Making Of A Hero.

Image: Gareth Bale celebrates victory with teammates.

Gareth Bale was for the first time, selected to represent Wales at the end of the 2005–06 season for a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on 27 May 2006. The match was played in Graz, Austria.

Bale came in as a second half substitute for David Vaughan after 55 minutes. With a wonderful pass, he assisted Robert Earnshaw’s winning goal in a match that ended 2–1.

At 16 years and 315 days, Bale became the youngest player to play for Wales. This achievement saw him break a previous record held by Lewin Nyatanga for the last three months; this record, too, was itself superseded by Harry Wilson in November 2012.

The Welshman has grown in leaps and bounds pursuing his career away from England. Brian Flynn commented that Bale was potentially a future star of the game, comparing his technical ability to that of Ryan Giggs.

On 7 October 2006, Bale became the youngest player ever to score a goal for the full Welsh national team in the Euro 2008 qualification match against Slovakia. It was awesome to see him score with a free kick.

Bale was eligible to play for England through his grandmother, but he stated in 2007 that:

“It is an honour to play for Wales…Nobody ever got in touch with me personally from England, only through my agent.”

Image: Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring for Wales.

Feeling neglected by England in his growing years, one can better understand why Bale seem to have no high regard for The Three Lions.

He began his professional career at Southampton, playing at left-back and earning acclaim as a free kick specialist.

Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, for an eventual £7 million fee. During his time at Tottenham, managerial and tactical shifts saw him transform into a more attacking player.

From the 2009–10 season, under the guidance of Harry Redknapp, Bale became an integral part of the team, rising to international attention during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.

In 2011 and 2013 he was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year, and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year. In 2013 he was also named PFA Young Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year.

Image: Gareth Bale celebrates for Real Madrid.

On 1 September 2013, Bale was transferred to Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee. Press at the time reported the transfer value at figures between €91million and €100million.

In January 2016, documents pertaining to the transfer were leaked which confirmed a world record transfer fee of €100.8 million, eclipsing the previous record fee of £80 million (€94 million) for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.

Bale played an integral role in his first season at Real Madrid, helping the club to win the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, scoring in both finals. The following season he won the UEFA Super Cup and scored in a third major final to help the club win the FIFA Club World Cup.

In 2016, ESPN ranked Bale twelfth on its list of the world’s most famous athletes.

Bale was assigned the number 11 shirt at Madrid. The same number he wears for Wales and formerly for Tottenham.

Image shows Gareth Bale and countrymen chilling out in France as Euro 2016 heats up. Tonight is the night that’ll separate boys from men–Portugal or Wales.

Gareth Bale says he’s fighting for national pride, what do you think of Cristiano Ronaldo?