Gareth Bale has spoken of his delight at his start to life at Real Madrid, and his happiness at being involved in the Champions League after a two-and-a-half year absence from the competition.
Bale started on the bench in last night’s 6-1 victory against Galatasaray in Real’s Champions League opener, but he came on in the second half to provide two assists as Cristiano Ronaldo went on to score his 21st hat-trick of his time in Spain.
Having begun the match against Villarreal at the weekend, Bale was left-out of the starting line-up as Carlo Ancelotti admitted he wanted to take care in nurturing Bale back to full fitness, but the Welshman says he has no problems with starting as a substitution as he continues his return from injury.
"It is amazing and a big reason why I joined such a big club was to be playing in the biggest competition in the world and it was great to get out there tonight, get the win and a good start," Bale told Sky Sports.
"I spoke with the manager and I had no pre-season whatsoever, I have trained seven or eight days, had 30 minutes for Wales and 60 minutes on the weekend so it was all about easing me in, and I felt good when I came on and I contributed.
"It is a different situation not to have a pre-season and it is a bit difficult, but I am feeling like I am getting there, getting minutes on the pitch and it is all about game time and building myself up."
Fellow new signing Isco got Real off the mark last night with his fourth goal in five games, and a Karim Benzema double added to Ronaldo’s three goals.
And Bale feels he has been welcomed into the squad by his new team-mates, and he now has plans to push on as he works back to full fitness with his eye on increasing his playing time for Los Merengues.
"I think all the boys have made me very welcome and I have settled straight away and I am enjoying my football and want to crack on now, get my fitness up and play a lot more games and have a good season."
Ancelotti was pleased with the win, and claims that despite the one-sided scoreline, the Turkish cub which contains former European champions Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder were very difficult to put away.
“The result makes the game look easy but it was anything but in the first half,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
“We had a lot of problems and had to survive a lot of pressure. After the first goal by Isco it is true that things became easier.”
Real’s night was slightly soured by the exit of club captain and fans’ favourite Iker Casillas, who after being given his first start of the season by Ancelotti, had to be replaced by regular Diego Lopez after just 12 minutes when he injured his side in the act of saving a Felipe Melo effort.