Football

Bale happy at Real

Welsh star aims for more 
trophies with Spanish giants

Gareth Bale wants to make more history at Real Madrid after pledging his future to the Spanish giants.

Bale won his third Champions League winner's medal in four seasons as Real swept aside Juventus 4-1 in his home city of Cardiff last Saturday.

But Bale was reduced to the role of bit-part player after recent injury problems, sent on for only the final 13 minutes at the National Stadium of Wales with the game already won.

Bale's injury woes this season - and the impressive displays of Spanish playmaker Isco Rodriguez in his absence - have led to suggestions that the Wales forward could return to the Premier League this summer.

Manchester United have been linked with the 27-year-old, but he said that he is determined to remain in Madrid and add to his impressive trophy collection at the Bernabeu.

"I have signed a long-term contract at Real," said Bale, who last October committed himself to Los Blancos until 2022.

"My family is happy and I am happy, so yes we will continue what we are doing. We are winning trophies and I am happy."

Real's victory saw them become European champions for a record 12th time as Zinedine Zidane's side became the first club to retain the trophy in the Champions League era.

And Bale believes this team have taken their place among the great Real sides of the past.

"We have won three Champions Leagues in four seasons, so we have to be in that category," he said.

MIXED YEAR FOR BALE

"All we can keep doing is keep working hard and, hopefully, there will be more to come.

"We can get better. We are still quite young as a whole team and we have a great squad.

"Winning again adds to the history of this club. This club are the biggest in Champions League history, it's great to be a part of and we want to win more."

Bale now plans to return to full fitness over the summer after a mixed 12 months.

He helped Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 last summer, but missed three months of this season after undergoing ankle surgery last November.

Bale was injured again in the El Clasico against Barcelona on April 23, effectively ending his hopes of starting in Cardiff, and he later admitted that he may have rushed his return following his ankle operation.

"My ankle will be fine in the long term," Bale said.

"It just needs to be given recovery time. There is scar tissue and it takes time to get rid of it.

"I found out I wasn't going to start just before the game, but I always knew really because I'd been training for only five days with the team. I was really lucky to be involved, to be honest.

"I've worked double sessions for three, four weeks to get myself ready for this and recover from the surgery.

"But I will be able to rest in the summer, do some more rehab and then come back next season stronger." - PA SPORT

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