Football: Champions League undoubtedly the Real deal, says Madrid's Bale

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal and his hat-trick with Marcelo and Gareth Bale at the Champions League quarter-final, on April 12, 2016.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal and his hat-trick with Marcelo and Gareth Bale at the Champions League quarter-final, on April 12, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reuters - The Champions League is part of Real Madrid's folklore and it is the nature of the Spanish side to always set their sights on Europe's most prestigious club tournament, having won it more times than any other team, winger Gareth Bale has said.

The 10-time winners take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday and Bale felt the tournament was just that "extra bit special" to the Merengues.

"The Champions League means everything to the club. It's the main priority every year... It's just in the club's nature, they want to win the European Cup every year. It's instilled in you and you go for it every year," Bale told The Times newspaper.

"It's special to the club. Even when you play on European nights the atmosphere's that bit better, everyone in the stands is kicking every ball for you. It's always more intense for Champions League games, because it means so much for the club.

"All the players know how much it means. That's not to say the league titles don't mean as much but it's just that extra bit special."

With sections of the media claiming Bale suffers a fractious relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, the Wales international was quick to dismiss such notions, saying the Portuguese three-time Ballon d'Or winner's will to win was often misinterpreted.

"The press make a lot of things that maybe we don't but we get on fine. We've never had a problem," Bale said of his prolific team-mate.

"I've never had an argument with him. He's a very, very passionate person on the pitch... everyone knows that. People sometimes seem to take that the wrong way. We haven't had a problem."