Gareth Bale has enjoyed some serious success in Europe in recent seasons. At the age of just 27 he already has two Champions League medals to his name, and what's most impressive is that he's picked those up over the past three seasons.
Having tasted Champions League football for the first time with Tottenham, he has excelled in the Spanish capital but has the experience of playing in the tournament for teams from two countries.
However, having done that, there's one key difference – aside from the respective size, quality and prestige of the two clubs – that he's noticed, and he believes that it is having a huge impact on the success of English sides in the competition.
It's well known that the majority of the leagues in mainland Europe enjoy a winter break halfway through the season, with the benefits often seen ruing European club competition as well as international tournaments over the summer.
And Bale believes that England's lack of a winter break is having a negative effect on their impact in Europe as there is no down time to reflect and recover from a gruelling season at the very top of the game.
Over the past eight seasons England has provided just one winner in the Champions League, while only three of the 16 finalists during the same period have been from the Premier League, while La Liga has produced seven finalists and five winners.
And Bale believes this stat tells us all we need to know about the contrast between the two divisions.
“In every game in the Premier League you have to be at 100 per cent for 90 minutes or you will lose," Bale said as per the Daily Mirror.
“In Spain, you can be up at half-time against the bottom club and you can take your foot off the gas. You can rest players and take people off.
“If you only try for 45 minutes you won’t win a match in the Premier League.
“Obviously, we still play but it’s not at the same 110 per cent intensity. I think it’s a big reason.
“On any given day, 20th can beat top in the Premier League. Here, not so much. It’s a bigger gap.
"But the top six or seven here are really, really strong. In terms of the whole league, the Premier League is by far the most competitive but the teams that perform in Europe are mainly from Spain, Germany or Italy.
“Obviously, the winter break is massive. In England, you’ll play four or five games when we don’t play any.
“You don’t get many rest days and it really does burn you out for a long time after that.”
Bale, and Real Madrid, take on Napoli in their second leg clash of the round of 16 this week, and take a 3-1 advantage into the game.
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