Gareth Bale has targeted winning all six trophies at Real Madrid’s disposal this season, but can’t wait to herald it all with an European Super Cup triumph on Tuesday night.
The ‘Los Merengues’ have boosted its squad with some significant signings this summer and are much favoured to become the first team in the Uefa Champions League era to defend the European championship it won after a 4-1 extra-time victory over neighbours Atletico Madrid in May.
Bale, 25, scorer of two decisive goals as Real ended a 12-year wait for ‘La Decima’ plus a Copa del Rey triumph over rivals Barcelona, admits the threat posed by Sevilla- a side which more-or-less prevented their league title bid after a 2-1 away loss in March- outweighs all the rave surrounding his return to home city Cardiff.
European champions Real will line up against Uefa Europa League winners Sevilla tonight at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the Welshman is already relishing winning the first of many prospective titles in front of his home crowd.
He said: “I love being back home, but the most important thing is to win the match and the title. We want to win all the titles possible and we’re going to approach the match with a winning mentality.
“I don’t feel any pressure because I’m at home. We have to focus on winning the match against Sevilla and not on the fact that I’m playing at home. It doesn’t matter who scores. We want to win and lift the trophy.”
Real will also compete in the Fifa Club World Cup and the Supercopa de Espana in the 2014/15 campaign.
In his sophomore season at the Santiago Bernebeu after joining from Tottenhm Hotspur for a world-record transfer fee of £85m last summer, Bale feels fresh not being the new kid on the block and admits he took time to settle after missing out on pre-season.
“I’m fitter than last year and looking forward to the season,” said Bale, who also dismissed press reports he had added more biceps.
“I haven’t done anything in particular. I’ve trained in the holidays and in preseason. I haven’t done anything special in the gym. I did a physical training session. I’ve worked hard and I’m fit. I’ve had a good pre-season and settled in. It’s nice not being the new boy, that’s been good.
“It is easier partaking in the preseason rather than waiting for your transfer to go through.”
Manager Carlo Ancelotti believes Bale is not lacking in motivation to make significant improvement on his ‘Los Blancos’ career this season, after scoring 22 goals in 40 appearances- including six in Europe.
“I’m sure Bale will do even better this season,” the Italian tactician said. “He had an excellent season, even without taking part in the preseason and needed time to acclimatise. He’s very fit and psychologically ready.
“He is one of the best players in the world. Everyone knows that, but what’s more important to me is that he feels comfortable with us. Last season he was very important. There is a lot of competition in this team. I say Bale deserves to win individual titles, but I could say that Ramos and Ronaldo deserve them too.”
Anceloti then joked he was not sure whether the ex-Southampton wing back will feature at home tonight against Sevilla: “I don’t know if he’ll play tomorrow . People say ‘back home, back home,’ but he could start on the bench. No Gareth and James will both play.”
(Articles from the Press Association was used in this report)