Gareth Bale says he pays little attention to criticism he receives in Spain
Gareth Bale admits he gets «more excitement» playing for Wales than he does representing Real Madrid.
Bale’s call-up to this Wales squad — for European Qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary — has not gone down well in Spain, with his last appearance for Real coming back on October 5.
Azerbaijan vs Wales
November 16, 2019, 4:15pm
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The 30-year-old has not even been available for training at Real since he picked up a calf problem in Wales’ 1-1 draw against Croatia on October 13.
But his injury has not stopped him training with Wales this week — his return has been hailed in the Spanish press as the ‘Miracle in Wales’ — and the forward says he is glad to be back among the group.
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«I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales,» Bale said ahead of the Group E qualifier in Azerbaijan on Saturday.
1:04 Wales manager Ryan Giggs says Bale’s fitness levels are not ideal
«I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in the U17s.
«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 per cent on the pitch wherever I am, that’s what I always strive to do.»
Toni Kroos, the Germany midfielder and Bale’s Real team-mate, said «maybe this is not the best time» for the Welshman to join up with his national team.
Bale’s commitment to the Spanish club was questioned by a former Real striker, Predrag Mijatovic, who said his priorities are «Wales, golf, and after that Real Madrid».
Asked about the Spanish media’s relentless criticism of him, keen golfer Bale said: «I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me.
«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.»
Ramsey ‘fit and raring to go’
Aaron Ramsey is back for Wales ahead of the qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary, says Wales manager Ryan Giggs.
The Juventus midfielder — whose last appearance for Wales came 12 months ago — is yet to feature for his country during this European qualification campaign.
Giggs understands he has a «balancing act» on his hands managing his star players who have had little game-time, but knows the next two fixtures are «must win» games.
«He’s not 100 per cent fit, he’s not played a lot of games,» Giggs told Sky Sports News.
«He went through a good spell before the last camp, where he started three games and since then he’s only started one game.
«He’s a bit short on fitness. But the qualities he brings, he brings a different dimension to the game, it’s great to have Aaron back.
«I think he’ll play a part against Azerbaijan because he’s fit and raring to go.»