Gareth Bale: Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but we don't worry about the opposition

Welsh star sings the praises of his fellow Dragons as they prepare to meet Portugal in Euro 2016

Wales Euro 2016
Gareth Bale celebrates with his team-mates after their win against Belgium
(Image credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Wales play Portugal tomorrow evening in the semi-final of Euro 2016 but judging by the demeanour of Gareth Bale, no one would know it's the biggest game in Welsh history.

The Real Madrid star was all bonhomie when he faced the press on Monday afternoon, praising the milkshakes in Lyon and the friendliness of the locals.

His genial behaviour has been in marked contrast to that of his La Liga team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who has sulked and scowled for most of the last month and on one memorable occasion threw a journalist's microphone into a river.

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Asked what was bugging the Portuguese star, reports The Guardian, Bale laughed and said: "I'm sure he had his reasons for doing what he did."

Inevitably, the press is billing the first of the semi-finals as Bale v Ronaldo, the clash of two of the greatest players of their generation who just happen to be play alongside each other most of the year.

But the Welshman did his best to downplay the idea of a duel. "[Ronaldo] is a fantastic player, everyone knows what he can do," he said. "But we don't worry about the opposition. We just do what we do. It's about how we perform as a team and as a team, we can shut out a lot of threats."

Unlike England's Wayne Rooney or Belgium's Eden Hazard, Bale has lived up to his reputation in the Euros, although life has been made easier for him by the energy of the Welsh squad, a point he was keen to emphasize.

"It's not about two players," he said. "We know and everybody knows that it's about two nations in the semi-final - 11 men against 11.

"The star in our team is all of us. We are all together, we all work as one, running for each other, tackling for each other. We get on like brothers and we're having fun, enjoying the occasion, with no fear. It's working so far."

It's that camaraderie that makes the semi-final suspension of Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies all the harder to take - the pair will be forced to watch tomorrow's match from the sidelines after collecting two yellow cards in the previous rounds.

"It’s horrible for Ben and Aaron," said Bale. "The rules are difficult to take sometimes. They'll be hurt deep down, but they're not showing it. It's extra motivation to get to final."

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