Gareth Bale said Monday he has not spoken to his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo since Euro 2016 began but insisted the semi-final between them on Wednesday should not be seen as a clash of the superstars.
Bale, 26, and Ronaldo, 31, will be the centre of attention at Stade de Lyon on Wednesday, when Wales confront Portugal for a place in the final against Germany or hosts France.
“It’s not about two players. Everybody knows that really. It is about two nations in a semi-final, 11 men against 11 men,” Bales said Monday.
Whereas Bale has been a relaxed presence during his dealings with the media, Portgual’s Ronaldo has shown signs of stress, throwing a reporter’s microphone into a lake two weeks ago.
Bale said he had not spoken to Ronaldo since the start of the tournament and was reluctant to be drawn on the former Manchester United star’s likely state of mind.
“I can’t comment on how he’s feeling, what he’s doing,” Bale told a press conference at Wales’s Dinard media centre.
“I am sure he has his reasons for doing what he did. That’s entirely up to him.
“For me, I feel comfortable. We are enjoying ourselves here. Sometimes you have to fulfil your responsibilities and doing interviews is part of that.”
Wednesday’s game has been billed as a play-off for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, which Ronaldo relinquished to his long-term rival Lionel Messi last year, having previously won it in 2008, 2013 and 2014.
Ronaldo has confessed to using the Ballon d’Or as a source of motivation, but Bale says that he is only interested in making history with Wales.
“I don’t think that makes sense at all,” he said when asked if the trophy would be at stake in Wednesday’s game.
“It’s not just one game — it’s over a whole season. To me 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.”