Tottenham's Gareth Bale has not abandoned hope of qualifying for the Champions League semi-finals this evening. Spurs play Real Madrid at White Hart Lane, having lost the first leg in the Bernabeu 4-0. Rather than give up on the prospect of progress, however, Bale retains some belief that Spurs can overturn the deficit against the Spanish giants.
"Anything is possible in football," Bale told the Spanish football paper Marca. "This sport's history is full of incredible, crazy games. Madrid lost 4-0 at Anfield not so long ago. Why can't we do it ourselves? We are going to try and we're not going to give up. It's an almost impossible challenge, but we're going to play and see what happens. Hopefully we can produce the miracle. We need to be optimistic. We're going to go out to win from the start."
Should Spurs progress, and reach their first European Cup semi-final since 1962, it would be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of the competition. But Bale believes that a reversal of the events of last week is possible. In the Bernabeu Real Madrid went ahead through Emmanuel Adebayor, and after Peter Crouch was sent off for two bookable offences Adebayor, Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo made it 4-0.
"When you play with one player less it makes it almost impossible, especially in the Champions League and against a team like Real Madrid," Bale acknowledged. "I think this was the big difference in the first leg. We hope that the reverse happens [tonight] and they lose a man and we can take advantage. That would be a good opportunity."
Bale recently signed a new four-and- a-half season-long contract with the club he joined from Southampton in 2007. Despite that, he was asked if he could see himself one day exchanging the white shirt of Tottenham for that of Real Madrid. "I don't know if I will play in Madrid," he replied. "Now I'm happy at Tottenham. It's a young team, me as well, and I'm happy here."
Bale was content with his recent development under Harry Redknapp, which has led to his being nominated for both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards. "I've progressed a lot," he said, "especially in this last year playing in midfield, but I can still give more. I still can't be compared to the best players in the world."