Gareth Bale must learn Spanish, warns Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate has urged Bale to learn Spanish if he is to move to Real Madrid
Moving to Real Madrid is usually the highlight in any player's career, it is without doubt one of the biggest clubs in the world and when they come calling, the average player cannot resist.
However the transition is not easy and while Madrid can bring world class players onto the next level of superstardom, sometimes the pressure can be too much, and it causes players to lose form.
Gareth Bale looks set to make the switch to Los Blancos, and Jonathan Woodgate, having been in Bale's position when he left White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu, has advice for Bale regarding settling into life in Spain.
Many clubs have a ritual for new signings, Chelsea notoriously make new signings - sing a song of their choice, at Real Madrid, the new signing has to make a speech at a club dinner in front of all of his new team mates.
Woodgate was intent on learning the language, and he gave his speech in Spanish, although with a few mistakes to the amusement of his colleagues.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Woodgate said: "I was nervous giving a speech in Spanish, and it did get a few laughs when I used the wrong phrase but it was all part of the experience."
Woodgate earned respect for delivering his speech in Spanish, it is believed that Michael Owen, who was signed in the same window, stuck rigidly to English when it was his chance to speak.
Woodgate emphasises the importance of learning the language as an aid of fitting into life in Madrid.
"The first thing Gareth has to do is learn the language," said Woodgate.
"I made sure I went to Spanish lessons two or three times a week, you have to get in among the players, communicate with them in Spanish - even if you make mistakes. They aren't bothered - it'll put a smile on everyones face."
And while Woodgate struggled at Madrid in terms of injury, he enjoyed his time in Madrid, and was never in awe playing alongside the Galacticos.
"I wasn't starstruck working with Zidane and Figo. I couldn't wait for training because I knew how good they were.
"A couple of lads are still there, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. They weren't flashy, just normal people who were very good at football.
"In football, you find the better the player, the more professional they are. Nobody was ever late for training."
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