Football

Chris Coleman: Bale will stay with Real Madrid

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Chris Coleman believes Gareth Bale will stay at Real Madrid, and that Wales will benefit from the forward's decision.

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Manchester United but Wales boss Coleman is convinced Bale's future lies with the Spanish side.

Coleman, speaking after the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in St Petersburg, said: "Gareth will do what he wants to do, he's good enough to play for any team on the planet but I think he will probably end up staying at Madrid and who would blame him for that?

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"There is pressure in playing for Real Madrid but Gareth is one of those players who can handle that.

"The demands of playing in the Premier League and the demands of playing in La Liga are different. From our point of view we get a fresh Gareth Bale - if he's in the English Premier League physically it's more demanding."

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Coleman also rejected claims that Bale's contribution to Wales is so great that they are effectively a one-man team.

He added: "No one has ever said that to me and anyone who has ever seen us play would not say that. We have a lot of talent in our team, all our success has been down to a team ethic and Gareth fits into that.

"We are difficult team to play against; we are hard to break down; and we have goalscorers and match-winners.

"We have also got a group of 11 players on the pitch who are prepared to defend for their lives. If you look at our record in this European campaign so far we have conceded one penalty and one free-kick. You can't be a one-man team with a defensive record like that."

Wales' only appearance in the World Cup finals was in 1958, but they were drawn as top seeds in Group D along with the Republic of Ireland, plus Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia.

Coleman, who added he would focus on qualifying for Euro 2016 in France before thinking about a new deal to take him through to Russia, said: "It's a long time isn't it? First and foremost we have got to take care of qualifying for France.

"After we know our fate with France we can start concentrating on the World Cup, but we know it has been a long time since 1958 and we know we have got a lot of work to do in the Euros yet.

"It's been widely-publicised my contract is coming up at the end of the Euros and we are all just keeping our eye on that tournament because we can't afford to start thinking too far ahead. There is a lot of work to be done and once we know our fate we can start thinking about everything else."

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Topics:
Wales
Gareth Bale
Football

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