Gareth Bale will not be a great player until he leaves Cristiano Ronaldo and the Real Madrid forward’s « gigantic ego », according to Republic of Ireland legend Johnny Giles.
Ireland host Wales in a crucial World Cup qualifying match on Friday, with Bale needing three goals to become his country’s all-time record goalscorer.
The 27-year-old is Wales’ star man, but Giles – who represented his own country for 20 years between 1959 and 1979 – does not think he is at the highest level in the world game.
Giles feels Bale needs to get away from Madrid team-mate Ronaldo to become a great and make his own mark, with his Wales form an example of what is possible.
« Bale has a bit to go before I would call him a great player, » Giles wrote in the Irish Independent.
« It seems to me that he needs to get away from Ronaldo to make the final step.
« His problem is that he is trying to find room to express his talent in a team controlled by a gigantic ego. Bale is good enough to be the main man but he can’t be while Ronaldo is around.
« I really like Gareth Bale, first as a player and secondly as a human being.
« I don’t know him but everything I’ve seen leads me to think he’s a good lad with very few airs and graces and he remains rooted in his family and friends back in Wales.
« While Ronaldo, with all his money and medals, still feels the need to show off, still stands on the tips of his toes to make himself big in team photos, Bale gets on with his work and plays for the team.
« Wales has been a great outlet for Bale and we have seen by the way he leads the team that he has a genuine passion and delight in playing for his country.
« I don’t buy the idea that Wales are a decent team without him. They have Aaron Ramsey who thinks he’s a great player but isn’t. Without Bale, they would be very average. »
Wales boss Chris Coleman, though, hit back at Giles’ comments, saying he must be a great manager to get top performances from Bale if he is not a player of the highest level.
Coleman told reporters: « I must be hell of a manager then – I’m happy with those comments because it makes me look good!
« Me and [Ireland boss] Martin O’Neill both know full well that when that whistle blows and we lock horns, it doesn’t matter what is said, who is a good player or who is not a good player. »
The five games that have forever changed Kaká’s career
An official end of career, Kaká wanted to remember the five games that he said changed his life.
According to the echoes of ‘AS’, Kaká began to realize what football was on June 30, 2002, during the World Cup final: « I did not hold against Germany , but I was proud to be part of this team in the final of a World Cup. I was very nervous, but when Ronaldo scored his goal I knew we were going to win. Five minutes from the final whistle I entered the field, without really getting heated, and I did not touch the ball, but it was one of the best moments of my career.
The second encounter that marked him was the 3-3 against Liverpool in the final of the Champions League in 2005. His club lost when he had three goals in advance, but Kaká was able to draw the positive side of defeat: « That day I realized that in football you can not consider a match as being won in advance. I still do not know how Liverpool could go up and tie in six minutes.
Kaká also mentioned his defeat with Brazil against France at the 2006 World Cup: « I learned a lot of defeats. This Brazilian team was incredible: Cafú, Lucio, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos … but Zidane was the best that day and on a slip of the road we had to forget the title of world champion.
« Liverpool-Liverpool 2007 was also an incredible match. We arrived with so much motivation, so that the events of 2005 can not be repeated again, we then allowed ourselves no respite. we were winning 2-0 and Kuyt scored. But this time we did not lose. It was wonderful, the best year of my career, « said Kaká.
Finally, the Brazilian recalled the final of the 2007 World Club against Boca: « Although it seems easy, a final of World Club is always complicated. I played it with a shirt that said ‘I belong to Jesus’ and it went around the world. We celebrated the victory like kids and I was named Player of the Match.
Golden Ball 2017: Messi wins all votes in front of Cristiano Ronaldo!
FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi is already winning all the votes in the Ballon d’Or race. Cristiano Ronaldo can only see the damage.
The Spanish press reported again yesterday: the entourage of Cristiano Ronaldo is worried. In front of the repeated performances of Lionel Messi, CR7 starts to panic in obtaining the Balloon of gold that he already thought acquired in January 2017. For the time being, and if the Portuguese striker of Real Madrid can remake the cherry and still seems favorite, football fans have already chosen their side.
Thus, having learned about the 30 players named for the Grail, the Madrid daily Marca published a poll in which it clearly appears that Messi is the favorite: the Argentinian FC Barcelona has indeed won 53% of the votes of the 32 000 votes against only 30% for Cristiano Ronaldo!
In France, the situation is much the same since France Football, on the same idea as Marca, has done the same to sound its readers. Messi still largely leads with 51% of the vote, Cristiano Ronaldo follows from a distance with 24% of the vote. For the third step of the podium, Antoine Griezmann and Riyad Mahrez are also neck and neck.
And if Lionel Messi deprived the Portuguese of 5th Ballon d’Or? His admirers would be delighted. A cover of the weekly leaked, with « La Pulga » announced as the MVP of the year. The Argentine is applying today for the 6th Golden Ball of his career. Except that this one is nothing but a counterfeit.
Liga: Luis Suarez leads Barça to victory in Leganés
Barça moved to Leganés with a 3-0 win, thanks in large part to Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, who found his way back to the net.
Barça arrived on an excellent dynamic, with a record of ten victories and a single draw in eleven league games. Unbeaten, Barcelona moved to Madrid to face Leganés, a club from the southern suburbs of the capital that serves as a team revelation for his second season in the Liga, pointing to the ninth position in the standings. Ernesto Valverde lined up a rather classical composition, with a Paco Alcacer still running tonight after his double before the truce. Nelson Semedo was this time lined up Sergi Roberto on the right flank of the defense, the Catalan being injured. Side pepinero, Beauvue started the game on the bench.
From the start of the game, the Barcelonans had quite offensive ambitions, and very quickly, Luis Suarez was denied a first goal after a nice collective action (3rd). But the Pepineros held up well, leaving very few spaces behind. Amrabat was trying to create a panic in the opponent’s area, but was too much of a kicker on this coiling attempt (20th). After a corner, Messi deviated too much his shot (24th), while Gabriel responded with a shot from outside the surface, not framed (26th). But on a center shot Alcacer, Ivan Cuéllar was going to make a huge hand foul, releasing the ball. Luis Suarez ran around and sent the leather to the back of the net (0-1, 28 ‘). A blow for the people of Madrid rather solid so far
A team of valiant Leganés
The locals did not give up, and Alexander Szymanowski forced Ter Stegen to make a decisive parade on this pretty coiled (35th). Leganés had a certain facility to create danger through the wings, and the Barcelona were more than relieved when the referee sent the 22 players of the meeting to the cloakroom for half-time. Back on the meadow, Claudio Beauvue came into play in the place of Eraso. And the former Lyonnais was close to shaking the nets, but it is finally Ter Stegen who won his mano a mano, after the French left behind the back of Umtiti (52). Barça was in trouble, but was soon to take cover.
Lionel Messi performed a superb service for Alcacer. The latter saw how the goalkeeper diverted his shot, but again, Luis Suarez recovered the ball and propelled it to the bottom, offering himself a double (0-2, 60th). His fifth goal of the season in Liga, he had not scored more than a month in all competitions. In the wake, ter Stegen, excellent again this afternoon, came out perfectly in front of Amrabat (63). The Pistolero, then Vidal, were close to bend definitively the meeting (75th). Despite new hot situations for Suarez and Messi, it was Paulinho who folded the match, setting foot after an individual action from La Pulga (0-3, 90th). With eleven points ahead of the two teams in Madrid, the Barcelonans will be able to watch the evening derby quietly, while watching closely Valencia that faces Espanyol tomorrow.
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