Bale plays down personal battle with Ronaldo
FOOTBALL: Wales’ semi-final clash with Portugal tomorrow morning (AEST) is more than a battle between two players, says Gareth Bale.
Bale became the world’s most expensive player when he was signed by Real Madrid for $150million from Spurs in 2013, taking over from teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who moved from Manchester United in 2009 for $141million.
The media has blown up the clash between the two ahead of the last-four battle in Lyon but Bale is trying his best to play it down.
“It’s not about two players, it is about two nations in a semi-final, 11 men against 11 men,” said the Welsh wizard.
“Everybody knows that really.”
The two have formed a potent attacking weapon at Madrid but there have been times when the relationship between them has not looked great.
But Bale moved to again dismiss rumours of a rift between the pair.
“Of course we get on very well at Madrid, we enjoy playing with each other,” he said, adding that Wales would not be paying too much attention to what Ronaldo and Portugal do.
“He’s a fantastic player, everybody knows what he can do.
“But we have always spoken about what we do, what we do ourselves as a team.
“We don’t worry about the opposition.”
The match will be Ronaldo’s third semi-fnal at a European Championship, and he also played in a losing final against Greece on home soil in 2004.
Bale has had more of an impact on Euro 2016, however, scoring three times in Wales’ first appearance in the tournament’s history and its first major competition finals since getting to the last eight of the World Cup in 1958.
He also believes Chris Coleman’s men can go on to reach the final and even win it.
“We all believed from the start,” Bale said.
“As we have said many times, we didn’t come here to make up the numbers. We came here to do a job, we came to do the business.
“Ultimately we want to win the tournament.
“We know we’re a step closer again but, the thing we keep saying time and time again, we can’t think past the semi-final now.
“We have to concentrate everything on the semi.
“If we can get the job done, then we can look forward to the final.”
France plays Germany in the second semi-final in Marseille on Friday morning (AEST) with the final at the Stade de France in Paris on Monday morning.