Friday, 15 September 2017

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale calls for calm after difficult start

Gareth Bale has called for "calm" after an opening to the 2017-18 season that has not gone completely to plan for either him or Real Madrid. Bale has just one goal in his first five games across all competitions this campaign, with local pundits calling this the worst moment since he arrived from Tottenham for €101 million in 2013, and fans at the Bernabeu again whistling him during Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League Group H win over Apoel Nicosia. The Wales international will be the only member of his team's "BBC" strike force available for Sunday evening's La Liga game at early leaders Real Sociedad, with Madrid missing the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo and injured Karim Benzema. The European champions are already four points behind title rivals Barcelona in the early season table following unexpected slip-ups at home to Levante and Valencia, but Bale told a sponsorship event in the Spanish capital on Friday afternoon: "We must keep calm and keeping going game by game. "We had a good start to the season with the two Super Cups, but we want to keep winning things. At Madrid we always want to win everything." Bale has scored on each of his three visits to Real Sociedad since joining Madrid, all wins for his side, and he said he hoped this run continued on Sunday. "It has been a good stadium for me," he said. "The most important thing is that we win the game, and get the points to climb the table." Bale's 123 games in four injury-hit seasons for Madrid have brought 58 goals, along with 10 trophies including the 2014, 2016 and 2017 Champions Leagues. He said the goal that put his team 2-1 up in extra time against Atletico in the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon remained his best moment for the club. "Maybe the 'Decima' goal was the most important of my career," he said. "I will never forget it. All goals are very important, and especially with Madrid. I hope to score more in important games." Bale also spoke about Wales' hopes of qualification for the 2018 World Cup, with Chris Coleman's side currently second in Group D ahead of next month's final qualifiers away in Georgia and at home to Republic of Ireland. "The World Cup is an enormous challenge for us," the Cardiff born player said. "As was the Euros last year. We will fight until the end to qualify."

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