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Rob Burnett: Is Gareth Bale right to play for Wales against Andorra?

13 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rob Burnett: Is Gareth Bale right to play for Wales against Andorra?

If you were a Real Madrid supporter, would you want him risking injury in a match he need not play in? The Mirror sports writer suspects not

Anyone who witnessed the manic smile, the diving on to the surface of the pitch at Zenica after the final whistle and any of his pot-match interviews can have no doubt of Gareth Bale’s love for playing for his country.

Playing for a footballing minnow like Wales is not always easy for top players like the Real Madrid man.

Each international break he watches his club-mates go off to perform with the likes of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Brazil – all powerhouses of the game.

And up until now, he had to go and play for a side that had not qualified for a major tournament for more than half a century.

Bale going from chasing league titles and the European Cup with Real Madrid to slogging through an impossible World Cup qualifying group with Wales was like taking Lewis Hamilton out of his super-fast Mercedes F1 charger and making him drive one of the tail-ender Manor cars for a couple of races each season.

Ask any sportsman and they will tell you that the scent of success is a huge motivator. Take that away and it can have a very definite negative impact on performance.

It would have been easy for Bale to prioritise his club career at the expense of his country.

He could have avoided plenty of friendlies or qualifiers with an unfortunately timed bout of ‘flu’ here or a slight muscle strain there.

But he never did. And now he has his reward.

His commitment and drive, plus his six goals and two assists, have helped the team qualify for Euro 2016.

But Bale is not content with that. He is now desperate to play in Wales’ final qualifier – their victory lap, if you will – at home to Andorra on Tuesday.

9/4 – Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Sam Vokes all to score against Andorra

And who could blame him?

He has probably done more to help Wales succeed than any other player, so why shouldn’t he enjoy the moment in front of the crowd at what promises to be a rocking Cardiff City Stadium?

Except it is not as simple as that. Real Madrid reportedly want him back now so he can prepare for their match against Levante on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo has pulled out of the Portugal squad to return to the club – even though he is his country’s captain – and Real want Bale to do the same.

Real striker Karim Benzema got injured playing for France this week and the Spanish super club are anxious the same doesn’t happen to Bale in what is essentially a dead rubber against a poor side who have not scored a single point in qualification and have a -30 goal difference.

The romantics will say Bale deserves his moment in the sun.

The pragmatists will point out that he had been out for a month before the Bosnia match and his club chiefs will no doubt argue that it is an unacceptable gamble to risk one of their most expensive assets getting a serious injury in a match he need not play in.

So ask yourself this, if Bale played for Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, or whichever club you support, would you want him playing against Andorra?

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