Gareth Bale says he gets more excited playing for Wales than for Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale has admitted that he gets more excitement out of playing for Wales than he does for Real Madrid, ahead of a vital week for his country.

Wales head into two crunch games against Azerbaijan and Hungary knowing that they need to win both in order to qualify for Euro 2020, as well as Slovakia dropping points along the way.

The chances of that happening have improved drastically after Bale completed full training with the squad before flying out to Baku.

The Welsh star hasn’t featured for his club since the last international break due to a calf injury and says he gets more excitement out of pulling on his national team’s jersey.

“I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales,” the 30-year-old said according to The Guardian. “I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in the under-17s.

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“It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. 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% on the pitch wherever I am; that’s what I always strive to do.”

Comments like these aren’t exactly going to do him any favours over in Spain.

Bale has been the recipient of a lot of criticism from the media, fans and his manager, Zinedine Zidane, during his six-year spell in Madrid.

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Bale, who has 81 caps for his country, has been the target of abuse for failing to learn Spanish during his time in the capital, along with not socialising with his team-mates in the evenings.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me,” Bale said regarding the Spanish media’s coverage of him.

“On one [front page headline] it said ‘triple bogey’ - and I’ve never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross!

“It’s funny. People don’t understand and don’t know what they’re on about. So I just find it quite funny.

“I’ve tried to get back [to fitness] as quick as I can. If there had been a Real Madrid game this week I would’ve been fit and training to play.

“Maybe to them [the Spanish media] it doesn’t look great but it’s just a kind of coincidence that the national team comes around this week and I’ve returned to full training.

“If I’m fit, no matter where I am, I’m going to try to play, whether it be for Wales or Real Madrid. For me it was a no-brainer: if I’m fit to play then I’ll give it my all.”

Wales will certainly need their star man to step up again if they are to make it to next summer’s competition.

Not for the first time, his country’s hopes rest on his shoulders.

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