Gareth Bale has risked fuelling the criticism of his commitment to Real Madrid by admitting on Friday he is more excited playing for Wales than for the Spanish giants. Bale has not featured for Real since scoring in his country’s 1-1 draw against Croatia on October 13 and a calf injury has prevented him from even training with his club’s first-team squad.
So his decision to join up with Wales for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday and Hungary on Tuesday has drawn negative comments in the Spanish press.
“I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales,” Bale said at a press conference in Baku.
“I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. It’s normal.
“With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feel more comfortable. But it doesn’t change what I do on the pitch. I always give 100 percent on the pitch wherever I am, that’s what I always strive to do.”
Former Real players and the media regularly accuse Bale of putting his love of golf before the club.
“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me,” Bale said.
“On one it said triple bogey – and I’ve never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.
“Some of the things I have seen, people don’t understand and don’t know what they’re on about. So I just find it quite funny.”
To have a chance of qualifying for their second successive European Championship, Wales probably need to win both games.
Bale said he wasn’t sure he would play the whole of both matches but defended his return to action in time for the Wales matches.
“I’ve done as much as I can in terms of trying to get back as quick as I can.
“If there had been a Real Madrid game this week, I would’ve been fit and training to play. Maybe to them it doesn’t look great, but it’s just a kind of coincidence that the national team comes around this week.”