Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ronaldo welcomes Gareth Bale to Real Madrid with crunching tackle

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13:  Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (#11) is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo while teammates Jese Rodriguez (L), Karim Benzema (2.L), Pepe and assistant coach Zinedine Zidane look on during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (#11) is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo while teammates Jese Rodriguez (L), Karim Benzema (2.L), Pepe and assistant coach Zinedine Zidane look on during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13:  Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (#11) is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo while teammate Pepe looks on during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (#11) is tackled by Cristiano Ronaldo while teammate Pepe looks on during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13:  Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (2L) heads the ball during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Real Madrid's new signing Gareth Bale (2L) heads the ball during a team training session on September 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Gareth Bale may have called him a “nice guy” after their first meeting in the car park on Wednesday, but here is Cristiano Ronaldo giving the £86m Welshman a proper welcome to Real Madrid, lunging on Bale in training today before Bale makes his Madrid debut at Villarreal on Saturday.

 Is Ronaldo, who cost Madrid £80m from Manchester United in 2009, more upset about Bale taking assuming his mantle as the "world’s most expensive player" than he is letting on?

They may have been all smiles before training, but after the Portuguese clattered into Bale during the drill neither player acknowledged one another.

Madrid great Zinedine Zidane, who is now assistant coach at the Bernabeu, and moved to the club for a then world-record £48m in 2001, says Bale should follow the example of Ronaldo in dealing with the pressure of the costly price tag.

"The pressure [on Bale] is huge, of course, but we have the best example in Cristiano Ronaldo," the three-time World Player of the Year said. "His stats, his performances ... Everything he gives to Real Madrid on and off the pitch is genuinely spectacular. Real Madrid do not consider his price but rather everything he brings to the club."

One of Bale's new team-mates that didn't try and take him out in training, Karim Benzema, says the signing will help Madrid get back to title-winning ways. The club last won the La Liga trophy in 2012 under Jose Mourinho.

"Bale is a really good player, and he is very nice," Benzema said. "Hopefully he will help us win a lot of titles."

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