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 By PA Sport

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale trains with Wales two hours after 7,500-mile trip

Gareth Bale trained with Wales' China Cup squad just two hours after completing a marathon 7,500-mile trip from Madrid.

Bale was a scoring substitute in Madrid's 6-3 La Liga victory over Girona on Sunday night before taking a private jet to Luton Airport straight after the game.

The 28-year-old spent the night in Richmond and was at Heathrow early on Monday morning to board an 11:10 a.m. flight to Guangzhou, with the journey to the Chinese city taking 10 and a half hours.

Bale then had to spend another four hours in transit before taking another flight to his final destination of Nanning. He did not arrive at the team hotel until 1:00 p.m. local time, but just over two hours later he was at Wales' first China Cup training session at the Guangxi Sports Center.

Bale's commitment to the Welsh cause is a boost for new manager Ryan Giggs ahead of his opening game in charge against China on Thursday.

His presence is also a boost for Football Association of Wales coffers. It is understood the FAW will receive £1 million for playing in a four-team tournament, which also involves the Czech Republic and Uruguay.

But the FAW were reportedly set to suffer a £100,000 penalty if Bale did not play in the tournament.

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale featured for Real Madrid on Sunday and will play for Wales on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chris Gunter has denied player-power tried to keep Giggs' predecessor Chris Coleman as Wales manager.

Gunter was among a group of senior players who reportedly lobbied Coleman to remain, but he said the players don't hold that kind of influence.

"It was made out that there was a group of players who were knocking his hotel door and begging him to stay," he said. "It wasn't quite like that because players don't really have an influence on what happens above.

"Certainly this group of players wouldn't think just because we've done well in the past we deserve the right to make decisions like that. I know that's been said in the past about this group of players, but it's not the case.

"Everybody wanted the manager to stay and, as footballers, you buy into what's happening at the time. We wanted the manager to stay, because he was a massive part of Welsh history and everybody loved playing under him. But in this case I think we were the last to know what was going on."

Gunter, 28, is set to win his 86th cap against China and set a new Wales record for an outfield player, eclipsing the mark of Gary Speed.

"It would be quite special to me because of that, and who I would move above," Gunter said. "Getting this far is not something that you think about when you are playing.

"But I'm absolutely honoured to get to that number and to say I've represented my country that many times. The journey along the way has given me some of the best days of my life."


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