Gareth Bale explains the craze for the Champions League that exists at Real Madrid and recalls what winning La Decima meant to the club.
Bale has spoken to BT Sport’s Rio Ferdinand and as well as discussing his ‘hard’ second year at Santiago Bernabeu and his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, he looked back on the 2014 Champions League Final against 2016 opponents Atletico Madrid.
“At my Press conference when I first signed it was all about La Decima. Literally the first thing I heard was La Decima. The President straight away said ‘we’re signing you for La Decima. To win the tenth,’” Bale revealed, before describing the sensation of lifting the trophy.
“It had been 12 years I think since we last won the Champions League. It’s ingrained in the club, the club lives for European Cups. When you join here you definitely know all about it.
“The feeling I expected I think. It’s hard to describe, as you know, winning the Champions League. The night you do it you’re so high you don’t really know what to think. Once it all settles in you still really can’t believe it. When we came back here after the game there was like 1m people in Plaza de Cibeles, where they celebrate the trophy victories. It was just incredible the scenes.
“The amount of people that came out and it was like 7 in the morning. Still out partying and still there in their numbers. We’re on an open top bus, the sun’s actually starting to come up and it’s just incredible scenes.”
Atletico were beaten in the final two years ago with Bale scoring one of the goals, and he was asked what the derby means in the capital.
“It’s way more intense – the relationship is not good. Let’s put it that way. They’re a very difficult team to play against. They’re very defensive and tend to park the bus, as people say. We know a lot about them and, yeah, we haven’t had the greatest of record against them in the last 10 games,” he added.
“But I suppose we can always look back on the final and when it counts we put in the performance and got the result. Hopefully that’s a scar for them, it won’t give them too much confidence. We’re confident going into the game that we can win like we are in any other game and hopefully we can win our second Champions League.
“You have to appreciate what [Diego Simeone has] done for that team. In the last four or five years he’s won trophies and they’ve always been the underdog. They’ve always been the team that’s probably had to fight the hardest and had the least resources. I think he’s done an amazing job there and hopefully he just won’t do a good job in the final.”
Watch ‘Rio Meets…Gareth Bale’ on BT Sport 2 at 8.45pm tonight. BT Sport is your home of unmissable live football, watch the UEFA Champions League final exclusively live from Saturday 28th May from 7pm on BT Sport Europe, BT Sport Showcase, btsport.com and for the first time ever on YouTube at youtube.com/btsportofficial