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Gareth Bale: 'Spanish League is most exciting'

Gareth Bale at press conference
The 25-year-old from Cardiff is the world's most expensive player Credit: PA

Welsh footballer Gareth Bale says the Premier League has lost its tag as the 'best in the world.'

The Premier League has always prided itself on supposedly being the most exciting championship in world football, but for Bale the Primera Division is the best around.

"The Spanish League is the most exciting. The world's top players play there. Barcelona or Real Madrid are always there near the Champions League final or winning it."

"The Premier League is a great league, but we are attracting the best players to La Liga. It is great to be involved in it."

– Gareth Bale

The 25-year-old spent six years at Tottenham, before moving to Real Madrid last summer for a world-record fee of £85.3 million.

The European champions wasted little time signing James Rodriguez for £63 million this summer, following his stunning performances at the World Cup.

But, his signing means Bale now has to work even harder to retain his first-team place, despite being the most expensive player of all time.

"James is a great signing, he has shown what quality he has in the World Cup and hopefully he can produce for Real Madrid what he did for Colombia."

"It's for the manager to decide what system we play and who plays. You need to perform well to keep your place. Everyone knows that."

– Gareth Bale

Almost a year has passed since Bale signed a six-year contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After a summer of rest, he's been working hard this week in LA, where Real are basing themselves for the International Champions Cup - a pre-season tournament which includes some of the best teams in Europe.

Feliz cumpleaños Gareth - happy birthday!

Gareth Bale is celebrating his 25th birthday with cake from his team mates at Real Madrid.

Gareth Bale
Gareth with his spanish made cake. Credit: realmadrid.com

In his first season with Real Madrid he won the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, scoring in both finals.

The club's webpage said Bale was congratulated by his teammates immediately before a training session and before taking to the pitch the Welshman was presented with a birthday cake.

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Gareth Bale stars in advert with Beckham and Zidane

The world's most expensive footballer, Gareth Bale, stars alongside previous 'Galacticos' David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane in a new advert for sports brand Adidas.

In the advert, Wales and Real Madrid star Bale teams up with Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura as a game of football breaks out - and does some damage - in Becks' house.

The 24-year-old recently scored a goal in the Champions League final, as Real won the competition at the end of his first season at the club.

Read More: Gareth Bale scores crucial goal as Real lift 10th European Cup

Galatico Bale to sport pink strip for Real away games

Bale in the fushia strip he'll wear for Real Madrid's away games next season. Credit: Adidas

In a first for Real Madrid the club and sponsors Adidas have turned to the colour pink to deck out their Galaticos for away matches next season.

Pictures of Wales star Bale, Karim Benzema and Marcelo modelling the fushia away shirt were released along with images of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos in the more traditional white home shirts.

The new strips were beamed onto the side of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain's capital along with the promotional slogan 'wear it or fear it'.

A more traditional white strip will be worn for home matches Credit: Adidas

A spokesperson for the club said, "The second kit is even more of a break from tradition. The main colour is fuchsia, a concept never seen before in the club's 112-year history. The crest will create a unique and impressive visual impact as it is made entirely in pink and white."

Holland boss frustrated players can't take on Bale

Gareth Bale scored in Real Madrid's Champions League win Credit: PA

Holland boss Louis van Gaal is frustrated his players cannot test themselves against Gareth Bale this week.

The Dutch take on Wales in Amsterdam tomorrow in their final friendly before leaving for the World Cup in Brazil.

Van Gaal had hoped Wales would provide a good test with the likes of Real Madrid star Bale and influential Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in their ranks.

But Bale, who scored in the Champions League final earlier this month, withdrew citing a leg injury while Wales manager Chris Coleman opted to rest Arsenal's FA Cup winner Ramsey.

Wales are also without two other senior players in regular captain Ashley Williams and West Ham defender James Collins. Liverpool's Joe Allen will lead out the team as skipper.

Louis van Gall will become Manchester United Manager after the World Cup Credit: PA

Van Gaal, whose squad fly to Rio on Thursday, said: "I have said to my board that they had to insist on playing against Gareth Bale and Ramsey, but this can happen in football.

"I don't know why, whether it is injury or holidays. When it is a holiday I am a little bit disappointed but I can understand it because Bale has a difficult, but also impressive, season under his belt.

"It is better that we have the best team of Wales because we need resistance. I think Wales without these players are weaker.

"But I have seen Wales play, against Iceland and Finland, and I like the way that they play.

"They want to play the ball. I like the left winger and I like the midfielder of Liverpool. So it's not a bad team - but with Bale it is always better, with Ramsey also."

Van Gaal, the vastly experienced former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, is standing down from his current role at the end of the World Cup to take over as manager of Manchester United.

Coleman concerned over Bale Wales participation

Wales' Gareth Bale (left) and Iceland's Ari Freyr Skulason battle for the ball Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wales manager Chris Coleman believes star player Gareth Bale should follow the example of Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in hardly missing a match for his country.

The Champions League-winning winger withdrew from the squad to face Holland on Wednesday with a leg muscle injury.

It's not the first time the 24-year-old has pulled out and former Wales manager Terry Yorath warned Coleman having Bale available for friendlies will become more difficult.

But Coleman feels Bale should try and match Ronaldo's commitment to Portugal:

"Look how many caps Ronaldo has got for Portugal - over 100 - he never misses. If it is good enough for Ronaldo it is good enough for anyone."

"To be fair in my time 'Baley' has come even when he has been injured because he wants to be around the team and supporting the team."

"I hope it doesn't come to the stage where we don't get Gareth for any friendlies."

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen will captain the side for the first time against the Dutch.

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Bale goal seals Real Madrid victory in Copa del Rey

Gareth Bale scored the winning goal in last night's Copa del Rey in Valencia Credit: KAI FÖRSTERLING/EFE/Press Association Images

Gareth Bale scored the most important goal of his career to win the Copa del Rey for Real Madrid, netting the decisive goal against fierce rivals Barcelona in the final at the Mestalla. Read more on this story at ITV Sport.

Bale celebrates with team mate Luka Modric after scoring the winning goal Credit: JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS/EFE/Press Association Images
Gareth Bale, Luka Modric celebrate winning the final of the Copa del Rey soccer match at the Mestalla Estadium, Valencia Credit: Jose Miguel Fernandez de Velasco/CORDON/Press Association Images

Bale misses out on Ballon d'Or shortlist

Gareth Bale has not made the shortlist for the honour Credit: Javier Lizon/EFE/PA

Gareth Bale has missed out on a place on the shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award despite having been named on the 23-man long-list.

The final vote for the 2013 Ballon d'Or will be fought out between Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery instead.

Bale had been named on the long-list following a superb 2012/13 season which culminated in a world record transfer (£85.3m) to Spanish giants Real Madrid in September 2013.

Barcelona forward Messi is in line for a fifth straight win while Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo won the award in 2008. The winner will be announced in Zurich on 13th January.

Bale makes shortlist for FIFA's player of the year

Bale fights for the ball against FC Barcelona on Saturday. Credit: PA

Wales winger Gareth Bale joins Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the leading contenders for *FIFA's Ballon d'Or award. *The 23-man shortlist for the prestigious world player of the year award was today, with the winner to be unveiled on January 13 in Zurich.

Barcelona forward Messi has won the award for the last four years, with Bale's Madrid team-mate Ronaldo consistently his nearest challenger.

Meanwhile Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has called for patience as fans wait to see the best of Bale following his record-breaking summer move.

Bale has yet to set the Primera Division alight following his 100million euros transfer from Tottenham and, with the Wales forward battling to return to full fitness, he is also still to complete a whole match for his new club.

Earlier this year Bale was the winner of the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year . Credit: PA

He was named in the starting line-up for Saturday's Clasico against Barcelona but was replaced an hour into the 2-1 loss.

"In the last few games he hasn't done extraordinary things, but a player who arrives at a new team, in a new culture, needs time to adapt," said Ancelotti.

"The problem the player has is of adaptation. It's not the same to play in Spain as in England."

Ancelotti also laughed off any suggestion that Bale's price tag had an influence on his decision to start him against Barca.

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