‘Maturing’ Bale seeks more Champions League glory
Gareth Bale believes he has turned a corner at Real Madrid after leading the Spanish giants to their second Champions League final in his three years at the club.
Bale’s effort was deflected by Brazilian midfielder Fernando into his own net to hand Madrid a 1-0 win on the night and on aggregate over Manchester City to set up a final date with local rivals Atletico Madrid in Milan on May 28.
The Welshman scored as Real beat Atletico 4-1 after extra-time in the final two years ago to seal a successful first year in Madrid.
However, he endured a difficult second season and was even abused his own fans after missing a series of chances when Real bowed out to Juventus at the semi-final stage last season.
“I feel like I’m maturing,” Bale told BT Sports.
“My Spanish is getting better and I’m integrating more with the team.
“It is difficult the first few years, but once you get past that mark then it does get a bit easier.
“I feel like I’ve turned a corner in that sense now. I’m enjoying my football here.”
Bale was denied his first Champions League goal of the season as UEFA credited the only goal of the tie to the unlucky Fernando.
And he said reaching another final justified his decision to resist lucrative offers to return to the Premier League last summer to make his mark in Madrid.
“It doesn’t matter who scored — whether it’s an own goal or whatever,” he added.
“The reason I came here was to win the Champions Leagues. I’ve got one already and I’ve got the chance to win another one now.
“It’s great to be in the final again, but there’s another game to go against a very difficult and stubborn Atletico Madrid team.
“They are there because they are a good team, but we’re looking forward to it now.”