Bale back on home turf

2015-03-26 09:59
Gareth Bale (Getty Images)

London - A smiling Gareth Bale put his Real Madrid woes behind him as he enjoyed the company of his Wales teammates on Wednesday preparing for a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel.

Smiles have been in short supply for Real's world-record signing in the Spanish capital recently as his form has attracted mounting criticism from fans and media.

Things reached a low on Sunday when he was abused after Real's 2-1 loss to Barcelona in El Clasico,  two supporters filmed screaming insults and kicking his gleaming white Bentley.

But training with Wales in his home town Cardiff on Wednesday, Bale looked relaxed and ready to help his country qualify for a tournament finals for the first time since 1958.

While he may feel unappreciated in Madrid, where his second season is proving more difficult after helping Real win the Champions League in his first, his Welsh colleagues have welcomed him back with open arms.

They are bemused by the criticism he is receiving.

"I can't believe he is getting stick. Just look at his record and performances," fellow forward Simon Church told Walesonline.

"But it's part of being one of the best players in the

world. The criticism won't affect him. You saw that with the way he came back against Levante and got two goals.

"Plus, he's been brilliant for us. When he plays for Wales, everyone loves him."

Burnley's Sam Vokes said the recent criticism in Spain will not affect the 25-year-old against Israel in Haifa this weekend.

"I'm sure he's strong enough to cope with it," he said.

"He's a class player -- and when it comes to playing with Wales he's shown how passionate he is towards it.

"The performances he has been putting in have been fantastic and hopefully he can carry on doing that and take us on."

Wales are unbeaten in four Group B games to date, including a 0-0 draw with favourites Belgium in Brussels in their last outing, and victory over leaders Israel would put them top.

Bale, signed by Real Madrid for 85 million pounds from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013, has earned 48 caps for Wales, scoring 14 goals, including two in the current qualifying campaign.

Read more on:    real madrid  |  euro 2016  |  gareth bale  |  soccer

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