• Super Cup

Bale targets multiple trophies with Real

ESPN staff
August 12, 2014
Bale: No pressure playing back home

Gareth Bale has targeted Champions League and La Liga double glory and says the pre-season has helped prepare him better than last year as he prepares to start the new campaign in his native Cardiff.

Bale will be part of a formidable Real Madrid strikeforce when the Champions League holders meet Europa League winners Sevilla in the Super Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night.

Madrid signed World Cup sensation James Rodriguez from Monaco for £63 million this summer and the Colombian will join Bale, world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the Madrid forward line at Cardiff.

That firepower has convinced many pundits Madrid will become the first club to successfully defend European football's greatest prize in the Champions League era after their 10th title last season.

"Every season we want to win every trophy we're in for," Bale said. "We'll be trying our best to win the Champions League and the Spanish League again.

"It was a great season last year winning trophies, but the most important thing now is to win the Super Cup and it doesn't matter who scores the winning goal. We'll work hard again to try and try to win the trophy."

Wales international Bale is returning to play in the town in which he was born 25 years ago.

"It's great to be back home but the most important thing is to win the game and the cup," he said. "We need to focus on that and not on me playing in my hometown. ... "I don't feel pressure of being back home, it's another game and another one I have to put 110 percent in to perform at my best."

A year ago, Bale was waiting to complete his world-record, £85m transfer from Tottenham, and the winger admitted he took time to settle at the Bernabeu after missing out on pre-season. But the 25 year old insists he is in peak fitness at the start of this campaign, although he denied media reports that he had put on muscle.

"I haven't done anything," Bale said. "I've done a bit of training in the off-season, a bit of running. It was just pure conditioning training, I've worked hard in the offseason and feel in good shape.

"I've had a good pre-season and settled in. It's nice not being the new boy, that's been good. It's a lot easier having pre-season under your belt rather than waiting for a transfer to go through. I feel in better shape and can start the season with a better tempo.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti believes Bale will have an even greater impact for Madrid this season after a debut campaign where he scored 22 goals in 40 appearances and also netted in the Champions League final victory over neighbours Atletico.

"Gareth had a fantastic season last year without preseason and to be in condition took time," Ancelotti said. "This season is different, he knows the atmosphere, his team-mates and club and I'm sure he will be better this season.

"He is in perfect condition physically and mentally and I'm sure will do better. He is one of the best players in the world, he is happy here and plays to help the team win titles."

One person who knows exactly how dangerous Bale can be is Sevilla coach Unai Emery, who said the Welshman's success in Spain has not surprised him.

Bale shone for Real against Sevilla last season, scoring twice in a 7-3 win for Real at the Bernabeu, which is an experience etched in Emery's memory.

"We unfortunately got to know him in the first match he played [against Sevilla], and he was already at an extremely high level," Emery said. "It was a beautiful game for spectators, but an ugly game for Sevilla. Bale was the star.

"When you have a player of that calibre on your side, you can rest easy. We will aim to cover him individually, and also his team-mates.

"It hasn't surprised me how quickly he has adapted [with Real Madrid], based on the fact he's a great player and a great athlete. He has adapted quickly, and it's down to his character and personality. His style and his team match, and that has been key to his success."

Despite Real's firepower, but Emery claims his team will be ready for whatever is thrown at them.

"You can spend more time defending than attacking, but you have to have a balance. You have to be ready defensively. We have to base our defence on a tight formation and face off one-on-one with their players so they don't have numerical superiority, but if we have possession we need to have speed to go forward.

"The strategies are important. They have important players - [Toni] Kroos is a great playmaker - but we have our tools and weapons.

"They are the favourites, but we have a lot of passion and we are convinced we can compete and take this spirit to overcome obstacles on the pitch."

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