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May 15, 2014

Gareth Bale cites Ronaldo as role model

FC's Taylor Twellman believes La Liga could give the Premier League a run for its money in terms of popularity and viewership.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been a valuable role model for Gareth Bale during his first season at Real Madrid following an 86-million-pound world-record move from Tottenham, Bale said in a BT Sport interview.

Gareth Bale joined Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid last summer.

Rigg: Real need Di Maria
Curtis: Familiar Portgual XI

The media in Spain and England suggested a rivalry may develop between Bale and Ronaldo when the Welshman replaced the Portuguese superstar as the most expensive player in the world last summer.

Yet Bale has insisted that Ronaldo has been one of the most welcoming members of the Real Madrid squad, as he has relished playing alongside a player he has previously said was one of his heroes.

"Since the first step that I made into Real Madrid he's been absolutely amazing with me," Bale said about Ronaldo.

"He's given me advice on and off the pitch, with football matters and not, and he's given me advice where to live and stuff like that.

"He is such a nice guy, so helpful, always wants the best for the team and obviously people write things about him, but people who actually know him know exactly what he is like and he's a great man and a great footballer as well."

Bale went on to reveal his close friendship with former Tottenham teammate Luka Modric has been crucial to his settling in process in the Spanish capital, with the Croatian emerging as the Welshman's closest confident in the Real Madrid dressing room.

"We were there for five years together at Tottenham and we actually got on really well there as well, so having him here obviously was a massive plus for me," Bale said of Modric.

"I obviously spoke to him about it, when he came to Madrid he didn't really know anybody so it was quite difficult for him in his first year, but having him here this year has made me settle in so much quicker.

"Just being able to go in to the group and knowing someone, hanging around with them rather than feeling I am stuck on my own so it's been a great help on and off the pitch and obviously I'm thankful for that.

"I spoke with him about various things and obviously a few of the other players as well that obviously advised me where to live and I had a look around everywhere and decided to live where I am now and I am very happy where I'm living, very happy here in Madrid at the moment and hopefully I can be here for a long time."

Bale is confident of shaking off his niggling injuries in time to take part in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon later this month, with his respect for Diego Simeone's side evident in these comments.

"We know how well they've played this season and we know what we're capable of, so I think as long as we execute our game plan on the day then hopefully we win," stated the Welshman.

"I think we have a lot of confidence going into the game and something we're looking forward to. Obviously it would be a dream if we lift the trophy."

Bale went on to reflect on his stunning winning goal in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona last month, as he suggested it was the high point of his flourishing career.

"I'd probably say so far it's the highlight that sticks out for me, scoring the winning goal," he said. "I just remember seeing I think Fabio [Coentrao] had the ball in the left back slot and I think there was a player in front of him and I had a bit of space in front of me.

"I knew there was a player right in front of me as well and after that it was kind of open pitch so as soon as I got the ball I knew I had to just knock it past him and I fancied myself in a one-to-one race against him.

"[Bartra] tried to get me off the pitch by a few metres but I knew if I got around him no matter what I'd be kind of slow on goal, and bearing down on goal I had to take my time.

"I was looking for Karim [Benzema] to try and square it to him, but I think [Javier] Mascherano kind of blocked the way, and I've seen the keepers legs open and I just tapped it through him and that was that."

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