Gareth Bale has responded to comments made by the Spanish press on him in the days leading up to Wales’ World Cup play-off versus Austria.
Despite missing most of Real Madrid’s games this season through injury, Bale was fit enough to start for Wales on Thursday night.
Bale shone at the Cardiff City Stadium, scoring a brace as Wales won 2-1. He scored a stunning goal in either half as the hosts took control.
There was a tense finish as Ben Davies scored in his own net in the 64th minute. Wales held on to win though. They will battle it out with Scotland or Ukraine for a place at this year’s World Cup.
Bale said post-match that Wales “had to perform and dig deep” to beat Austria:
“It was a massive game. We knew that. We had to perform and dig deep and use our experience in big games. It’s the perfect scenario,” Bale said (via BBC Sport).
“I can hit a free-kick if I am able to play. It was nice to see it go in. The early goal gave us that momentum and the second one was nice as well.
“I had some cramp at the end which I guess is normal but l will run into the ground for this country and we all did that tonight.
“That’s half the job done. We will enjoy tonight. There is still another tough game against either Scotland or Ukraine and we will be ready for that when it comes.”
Bale was then asked about him being criticised by Spanish media. Marca referred to him as “the Welsh parasite”.
The player insisted that he is “not fussed” about the “disgusting” comments:
“I don’t need to send a message,” he added.
“I don’t need to say anything, it’s a waste of my time. It’s disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves. I am not fussed, end of.”
Aaron Ramsey added post-match that “there is still a bit of work to be done” but they will “enjoy” the victory:
“It means everything. Playing in front of these [fans], what more can you want?
“We are game away from a World Cup which is everything for me, for Balo (Gareth Bale), for the nation, for the group of lads.
“We have come a long way since the early days and this would be the icing on the cake, to qualify.
“We know there is still a bit of work to be done but we can enjoy tonight.
“It’s not been easy for [Bale] but him coming and playing for his country, it means everything to him. You can see that from the way he plays.”