Gareth Bale says the lure of playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo was a “massive factor” in his decision to join Real Madrid.
Bale was presented to fans on the pitch at Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Monday, before heading inside to face his first questions in the stadium’s press room.
And the former Tottenham man said it will be an honour to play with, and learn from, a player who is the best in the world.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is for me the best player in the world,” Bale said. “He is a massive factor why I wanted to come here. The team is full of world-class players, no better than him. It will be an honour to play with him, and hopefully learn from him. Hopefully we can win a lot of trophies together.”
Bale smiled in response to a question about whether he would be demanding Ronaldo to share the free-kick taking duties.
“He’s the boss here I think, the main player, the best player in the world,” he said. “I want to obviously help the team and try to win trophies. I will have to wait and see what he says.”
Ronaldo has been playing a more central attacking role for Madrid this season, with mixed results so far -- a move some pundits have claimed is due to Madrid’s new coach Carlo Ancelotti working out a system to accommodate the Portugal international and Bale together.
The Wales international said he had not yet had a chance to sit down with Ancelotti and hear how the Italian planned to use him in the team.
“I have had a brief chat with the manager, not too much in detail,” he said. “I am looking forward to talking to him. He is bringing me here to improve the team. Wherever I am put on the pitch I will give 100%.”
Bale believes it will be difficult to gain a regular place in Ancelotti’s starting side, but says he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I have a job to get into the XI. Every player here is world class. Madrid sign the best players in the world,” he said. “I know I cannot walk straight into the team, I have to work hard. I am always looking to improve myself as a footballer, and that should not stop now. There is a lot more to come from me, I am here with the best players, the best coaches and with the best chance to keep improving. I have played in a lot of different positions. Wherever the coach thinks I can play my best football I will give 100%.”
The fee Madrid have paid Tottenham remains unconfirmed, with sources in England saying €101 million and sources in Madrid putting the figure at €91 million -- a fee which would allow Ronaldo to retain his 'world's most expensive player' status.
The numbers involved, however, are not a concern to Bale.
“The transfer fee has nothing to do with me,” he said. “That is between Real Madrid and Tottenham. For a penny or whatever, I want to come here and do my best for the club. That is all I can say. I want to win titles, play in the Champions League and become the best player I can.”