GALACTICO Gareth Bale is back in Wales – and relishing the prospect of winning another major trophy, this time in his home city, writes Michael Pearlman.
The Whitchurch flyer capped a phenomenal first season at Real Madrid by winning the Champions League, scoring in the final as the former Tottenham man justified his world record price tag, following his £86 million move last summer.
Bale doesn’t have the distraction of the festival of football in Brazil with Wales failing to qualify for the World Cup, so the superstar has been mixing business and pleasure back home.
He was spotted filming a new advert for a sponsor on Penarth Pier earlier this week and at the end of May he did an autograph session in Jakarta that was estimated to net him close to £2 million.
However, Bale is guaranteed an extra ‘home’ game this season as his efforts in the Champions League final have booked Madrid a showdown with Sevilla at the Cardiff City Stadium in the European Super Cup final.
Real will take on Europa League winners Sevilla on August 12 in the ground’s first official game following expansion work to take the capacity to 33,000.
“It’s great for me, it’s something I looked at last season, hoping the Super Cup being in Cardiff was going to be a good omen for me,” he told the Football Association of Wales.
“And it’s worked out, it’s great for me personally to get to play in the Super Cup in my hometown of Cardiff.
“It’s quite a story, it was great for us to win the Champions League and it’ll be an amazing experience for me and the city, hosting such a big game.
“It’s a long way from Ninian Park, it shows how the city has grown and is improving and so is Welsh football, holding such a massive event proves that.”
Bale is hoping the two sides can match the entertainment value from their most recent league clash, Madrid winning by the odd goal in ten, 7-3, with Bale himself on the scoresheet.
“I remember it, I scored twice and it was back and forth, halfway through the game I couldn’t remember the score,” he joked.
“But Sevilla are a good team. They beat us at their ground and we’ll have to expect a tough game.”