Bale: I feel strong and am ready for battle with Barca

The Real Madrid and Wales forward has struggled with a calf problem this season, but he’s confident his “pace and power” can do damage when the Clasico comes around on Saturday

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale says he feels strong despite an injury-hit season and is ready to do battle with Barcelona this weekend.

Los Blancos welcome the Catalan side to the Bernabeu on Saturday for the much awaited first Clasico of the campaign, with Bale playing up the significance of the fixture.

The Welshman has been restricted to just six league appearances this term because of a calf problem, but he returned to the side for the defeat to Sevilla before the international break.

“I’ve been out injured for six weeks and I’ve not had the chance to play as much as I’d have liked, but I feel strong, in form and ready for the battle,” he told Bwin.

“[Madrid and Barca] are the two biggest sides in Spain. The rivalry is immense.

“It’s been there for many years and we always compete for La Liga, the Champions League and all the other titles with each other.

“There’s an incredible rivalry, which adds pressure on the pitch and makes the games really emotional.”

One of Bale’s finest moments in a white shirt came against Barca when he scored the winning goal in the Copa del Rey final during his first season in Spain.

The 26-year-old rates it among his best ever goals and appreciates that his speed – which left Marc Bartra behind on that occasion – is a major asset for Rafael Benitez’s side.

“That’s among my favourite goals in my career and I’m sure it’s one which will stay in my memory for a long time,” he reflected.

“My pace and power scare a lot of defenders, which is always a bonus for us. I just want to do my best, work hard and help the team win.”

Going into Saturday’s fixture, Barca have a three point lead over Madrid at the top of the table following the first defeat of the Benitez era at the Sanchez Pizjuan two weeks ago.

Bale, though, has been happy with his side’s performances so far this season.

“Until now we have been in good form and we have only lost one game, although I think there’s still room to improve,” he added.

“I hope that as the season goes on, we continue improving our form and that brings us the league title.”

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