Coleman sticks up for Bale

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Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Wales manager Chris Coleman insists Gareth Bale is strong enough to survive the flak coming his way at Real Madrid.

And Coleman is adamant the Madrid snipers will not derail Bale’s determination to grace a major tournament for his country.

Wales resume their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in Israel next month unbeaten after four games and second in their group, but Bale has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks as European champions Real have shown signs of rare infallibility.

Bale has been accused of selfishness several times after getting into good positions but failing to pass to colleagues, and Madrid’s main man Cristiano Ronaldo showed his obvious displeasure when the Welshman failed to tee up team-mate Karim Benzema against Espanyol in January.

And the Madrid media turned on the world record £85.3million signing after Real’s 4-0 derby defeat to Atletico last weekend, with television pundits criticising him and leading newspaper AS calling him “irrelevant” and not bringing themselves to hand him a rating in their match report.

But Coleman insisted his star man would ride the Madrid storm, telling Press Association Sport: “He’s the most expensive player in the world and they’re on his case but he’ll be fine.

“If you’re going to go to the biggest club in the world for the biggest fee in the history of football you’ve either got the mentality to get on with it and not get caught up in it or let it engulf you and affect you.

“I know which one applies to Gareth – but it’s just Madrid and the expectations there.

“They’ve just lost heavily to Atletico and the press are getting on his back and a lot was made when he didn’t pass the ball because Ronaldo’s the man there.

“People see Ronaldo waving his arms about at Gareth not passing the ball but I’ve seen Ronaldo in the same position and not pass it.

“But how many assists has Gareth made and how many important goals has he scored?

“They won the Champions League last year and he was a huge part of that fantastic season and they’re still top of the league in his second.”

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti again insisted after Saturday’s derby drubbing that his ‘BBC’ frontline of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano will always start when they are all fit and the 25-year-old former Tottenham forward has weighed in with 14 goals for Los Blancos this season.

But Coleman says whatever Bale’s situation at the Bernabeu it will be forgotten about on March 28 when Wales visit surprise Group B leaders Israel following victories over Cyprus and Andorra and draws with section favourites Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“I say to all my players whatever’s going at their clubs they can park that up,” Coleman said.

“It’s an escape for them and Gareth is no different to any other player, he’s dedicated to the cause.

“He wants to come and represent Wales and what’s going on in Madrid won’t bother him.

“He’s desperate to play on that world stage at a big championship and he knows he’s got a good chance in this current crop.”

Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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