PORTUGAL-WALES | Euro 2016 SEMIFINAL
"I haven't spoken to or sent any messages to Cristiano" - Bale
Gareth Bale spoke about his showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo and the Ballón d'Òr: "It's not just one game, it's a whole season. I never think about the Ballon d'Or at all".
"There'll be no love lost" between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo when they face off for Portugal-Wales in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 in Lyon. That's Wales manager Chris Coleman's view anyway, but Bale had a more laid-back approach to the showdown and the personal rivalry:
"It's not about two players", said the Wales and Real Madrid star in the media centre in Dinard, "everybody knows that really. It is about two nations in a semi-final, 11 men against 11 men".
Bale did admit Monday that the madridista teammates have not spoken since the beginning of Euro 2016, no whatsapps, no calls, radio silence. Much is made of the internal power struggle as the 26 year-old Gareth Bale increasingly occupies the alpha-male space dominated by a 31 year-old Cristiano at los blancos, but Bale doesn't see this international duel as anything more than two players trying to help their team get to the semi-final stage of the Euros.
Bale has been enjoying his press duties, telling the British media that not a single English player would get into the Wales side with a knowing smile, and revelling in his role as a leader on and off the pitch. Ronaldo, on the contrary, has been throwing microphones into lakes.
"I can't comment on how he's feeling, what he's doing", said Bale, "I am sure he had his reasons for doing what he did. That's entirely up to him".
Some have characterised the quarter-finals as an armwrestle for the Ballòn d'Òr between the two Real Madrid stars, Ronaldo has admitted in the past that the award motivates him, but again the Cardiff Express refused to go down that track:
"It's not just one game, it's over a whole season. I never think about the Ballon d'Or at all".
"For me it's all about helping my team. If an individual award comes along, then so be it. But more important is that my team win trophies and fight for trophies. That's the ultimate aim."
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