Gareth Bale: Wales forward risks further rift with Real Madrid over banner

Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order
Gareth Bale will have the chance to put Wales top of his priorities again next summer at the Euro 2020 finals

"The first thing he thinks about is Wales, then golf and after that, Real Madrid."

Gareth Bale has been criticised in Spain for prioritising playing for Wales - and finding time for a quick 18 holes - over turning out for his club Real Madrid, and the forward certainly enjoyed himself after helping his country to the finals of Euro 2020.

Bale set up Aaron Ramsey's opener against Hungary and excelled throughout as Wales reached their third major tournament.

The 30-year-old has not played for Real since 5 October and his return to international duty was dubbed by the Spanish media as the 'Miracle in Wales' this week.

Wales fans have turned the mantra 'Wales. Golf. Madrid' into a chant, with Bale himself admitting he found the song amusing.

And after securing qualification Bale was front and central as the squad paraded a banner echoing that sentiment.

Gareth Bale and Wales
Bale is Wales' record goalscorer with 33 goals

And it hasn't gone down so well in Spain...

Marca
Spanish newspaper Marca ran a poll which at 23:30 GMT on Tuesday saw 75% of respondents label Bale's celebration as showing 'a lack of respect for the club and fans'

When asked about the sarcasm aimed at him in Spain as he previewed the game, Bale said: "I've heard some stories but I don't really take notice.

"My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.

Spanish newspapers take a sarcastic tone in their coverage of Wales and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale
Spanish newspapers have taken a sarcastic tone in their coverage of Wales and Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale

"I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said 'triple bogey' and I've never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross! It's funny.

"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 Madrid. For me it was a no-brainer: if I'm fit to play then I'll give it my all."

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