Gareth Bale has opened up on his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview with The Times.
He discussed everything from their rumoured fallout to their quest for trophies.
The Real Madrid duo have combined to score 65 goals in all competitions this season and, though Ronaldo has netted the majority, Bale has chipped in with 18 of his own.
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Since the Welshman's arrival in Spain in 2013, Ronaldo has had to relinquish some of the free-kick duty. The left-footed star became something of a set-piece specialist during his time at Tottenham and it was only right that he was afforded free-kick opportunities at Madrid.
The spotlight was focused entirely on Ronaldo until Bale turned up and it is this that fuelled rumours that the pair didn’t get along, as well as the £86 million fee that Los Blancos paid Tottenham for Bale’s services.
Every free-kick that Bale takes is one fewer opportunity Ronaldo gets to add to his goal tally.
In the end, the pair devised a system to decide who gets to take free-kicks. It was the only way they could agree.
The free-kick system
“It’s on the board: free kicks left side him, free kicks right side me," Bale said, per the Telegraph. “Every game. So we know exactly what’s what.”
Not only is the system fair, but it takes full advantage of the duo’s strongest foot. Ronaldo, a right-footer, strikes the ball from the left and Bale does the opposite.
Sergio Ramos recently admitted that Ronaldo is constantly in pursuit of setting individual records but it has taken teamwork for Los Blancos to revive their La Liga hopes and reach the Champions League semi-finals.
Madrid were once 12 points behind leaders Barcelona in the title race but Zinedine Zidane’s team have closed the gap to just one point thanks to a run of nine-straight wins, including an impressive win at the Camp Nou in El Clasico.
And on Tuesday, they take on Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie. It will be a surprise if Madrid do not reach their second European final in three years.
Bale continued: “You definitely have to have teamwork. No one can ever do anything on their own. But you need a little bit of selfishness because that’s what you need as a front man.
“We’ve found a good balance. We’re doing well, scoring a lot of goals, and hopefully we can peak now towards the end of the season and get some trophies.”