"Madrid have made me a better player" - Gareth Bale
"People expect a lot from you because of the price paid. Of course, you have ups and downs but the most important thing is how you react to them," Bale told UEFA.
The Welshman spoke with UEFA ahead of the first leg Champions League quarter final against Wolfsburg and says that he doesn't expect it to be an easy game. He also responds to questions about how he's settled in after moving to Madrid and how his game has changed among other things.
You arrived at Real Madrid in 2013. Two and a half years later, what do you think about your time at the club up to now?
An incredible experience. It's a big club with big expectations, so I feel that I did good coming here. During the time here, I’ve enjoyed every minute and I think I've become a better player.
Champions League games are tense and difficult, especially in the knockout stages, how much have you enjoyed playing in this competition with Real Madrid?
When I came to Real Madrid I knew the history of the club, I'd seen it as a child. So to have been able to contribute to it is incredible. And we want to contribute more, we want to win more European titles and continue to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet.
Now it's the quarter-finals against Wolfsburg. How do you assess the pairing and the opponent?
We knew that any team that made it to the quarter-finals would be difficult. We're looking forward to playing. We're going to go out to win both games and hopefully we can.
In your first season you won the Champions League. When you look back and think about la Décima, what are your emotions?
The fact we won, the celebration... I think about the relief. I think we'd not won the Champions League for 12 years. I remember when I signed for Real Madrid the president said to me that he'd brought me to win la Décima. It was nice that we won it in my first season and hopefully we'll win more.
How do you cope with the pressure to win that there is at Real Madrid?
I try not to look at it like that. People expect a lot from you because of the price paid and all that, but I try to concentrate on my football every day and on what I do in training and in the games. Of course there are ups and downs, but the important thing is how you react to them.
How do you think you've evolved as a Real Madrid player?
I think that I've improved in every aspect of my game. Lots of things have been good for me. The Premier League is more about attacking from one end to the other and La Liga is more possession based. I can see that I've improved the possession side of my game and also my finishing.
After you arrived at Real Madrid we spoke with you and you told us that one of your memories was Zidane's goal in Glasgow in 2002. Fourteen years later and you're at Real Madrid and Zidane is you coach. What's it like to work with someone you were a fan of when you were younger?
It's an incredible experience. He was one of the best players in the world and to have him as a coach is an honour. He's now demonstrating that he is a great coach. I'm really enjoying working with him and hopefully it continues.
Your season has been disrupted by injuries. Now that you're fit again, what are your objectives for the rest of the campaign?
It's been a bit of an annoying season, with little injuries interrupting my form, especially when I was playing well. Regarding the objectives, we're a bit behind in the league, but in the Champions League we know that we are in a good position and we're going to fight as much as we can in each game. Hopefully that will take us to where we want to be.
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