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Nothing to prove for Bale after hat-trick in Club World Cup semi-final win

Real face Al-Ain in Saturday’s final.

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Gareth Bale is targeting further silverware with Real Madrid (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gareth Bale is targeting further silverware with Real Madrid (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gareth Bale is targeting further silverware with Real Madrid (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gareth Bale said he has nothing to prove to anyone after his superb hat-trick fired Real Madrid into a third successive Club World Cup final.

Bale struck three times in a devastating 11-minute spell either side of half-time as Real overcame Japanese club Kashima Antlers 3-1 in Abu Dhabi.

The Wales international had been a doubt for the game due to the ankle injury which kept him out of Saturday’s LaLiga victory over Rayo Vallecano.

“I don’t have to answer to anyone, I just play my football and do my best for the team,” he told Real’s website.

“I’ve played down the left, down the right and through the middle throughout my career. I’m comfortable wherever the coach sees fit.

“It was a tough game, but when all is said and done, we made it to the final”.

Speaking about his injury, he added: “My ankle’s still a little bit sore but I had to do the best I could for the team and that’s what I did.”

Real have the chance to win the tournament for a record fourth time when they faced UAE side Al-Ain in Saturday’s final.

The European champions are level with bitter rivals Barcelona on three successes having lifted the trophy in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Man of the match Bale, who was rested for the final half an hour, has now scored six goals in five Club World Cup appearances and is determined to add more silverware to the Bernabeu trophy cabinet.

“It was great to score three goals but the vital thing for me is to get my team into the final,” he added.

“It’s a trophy that I personally want to win, and it means a great deal to the club. We all work hard to become champions.”

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Gareth Bale scored twice when Real defeated Liverpool in May’s Champions League final (Nick Potts/PA)

Gareth Bale scored twice when Real defeated Liverpool in May’s Champions League final (Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Gareth Bale scored twice when Real defeated Liverpool in May’s Champions League final (Nick Potts/PA)

In the closing minutes of a fairly uneventful first half at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, Bale slotted in off the right post following a superb one-two with Marcelo.

The Wales international seized on a defensive error to stroke a second into the unguarded net eight minutes into the second period, before completing his treble by lashing in two minutes later from another Marcelo pass.

Antlers midfielder Shoma Doi reduced the deficit with a consolation 12 minutes from time.

Real manager Santiago Solari hailed match-winner Bale, describing his performance as “spellbinding”.

“He was blowing everything out of the water: the lights, the nets, the stands,” said Solari.

“He had a spellbinding match, and showed who he is and what he is capable of.

“We are thrilled for him and now he needs to rest up and do it all again in the next match.

“Today Gareth gave his best, but has already given real joy to Real Madrid fans.

“Goals dominate football and Gareth knows how to score them. We hope he can continue to do it in every game.”

Asian champions Kashima will face Copa Libertadores winners River Plate in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

PA


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