BALE HOPES TO BE FIT FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Real Madrid superstar striker Gareth Bale

GARETH BALE HOPES TO BE FIT FOR 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN WALES

2017 Champions League Final: Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale update

Twenty-seven-year-old Gareth Bale has not played for Real Madrid since tearing a calf muscle against FC Barcelona on 23 April. However, Wales forward Bale has resumed training at Real Madrid but has not trained with his team-mates. Real Madrid face mighty Italian Serie A Champions Juventus in the 2017 Champions League Final on 3 June in Bale's home city of Cardiff, Wales. Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid on aggregate to reach the 2017 Champions League final for a second successive season.Bale was not involved when Real traveled to Celta Viga on Wednesday when Real Madrid came away with a 4-1 win, replacing FC Barcelona at the top of the Spanish La Liga Table.

Bale, 27, came off with a calf injury after 39 minutes in Real's 3-2 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona in April. Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is looking forward to Bale’s return to form and said his side are a better when injured forward Gareth Bale plays.

"It's not the time to talk about the Champions League final," said Zinedine Zidane. "He's much better and has already been out training. He's recovering and there's time for him to be ready for the final. I hope he's ready before and I hope he can be with us more than anything. We're a better team when he plays."

It is the second injury Bale has sustained this season after he was sidelined for four months after the superstar Welshman hurt his ankle in Real Madrid’s 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon in November.

Swansea City boss Paul Clement says Real Madrid will be desperate for Bale to be fit for the final. Clement was Carlo Ancelotti's assistant when Real Madrid won the Champions League in 2014, with Bale scoring the decisive second goal in a 4-1 final win over city rivals Atletico Madrid.

"I know he's fighting to be fit for that and I hope he is," said Clement. It would be great for him to come back, he's one of their best players.He's done fantastically well over the last couple of years. He's won it twice already, It would be an amazing achievement to be at a club for four years and win three Champions Leagues. That would be outstanding.It's great for Wales. You've got two great teams and a great event coming to this country."

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Real Madrid superstar striker Gareth Bale

2016 BALLON D’OR 30 MAN SHORTLIST

Neymar and Lionel Messi, Barcelona

2016 BALLON D’OR 30 MAN SHORTLIST

2016 Ballon d’Or 30 Man Shortlist

The winner will be revealed by France Football on December 13, 2016.

The 30 Ballon d'Or nominees are as follows:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United), Rui Patricio (Sporting), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)

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Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, Barcelona

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale to Transfer to Real Madrid For Record £86m

Gareth Bale Summer 2013 Transfer 3

Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale to Transfer to Real Madrid For Record £86m

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Bale did not report to Tottenham's training ground on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Spurs manager Villas-Boas made it clear that he would like to see Bale fined. AVB revealed that Bale had said his goodbyes to his team-mates ahead of his  move.

AVB has deals in place for the Steaua Bucharest centre-back Vlad Chiriches and the Roma forward Erik Lamela. Chiriches will cost £8m and Lamela around £26m, which would break the club's transfer record for the third time this summer. Tottenham have also made an €8m (£6.9m) bid for the Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

"At the moment the two clubs are speaking – Tottenham and Real Madrid – to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts and I am not sure how much time it will take," Villas-Boas said. "It could happen very, very soon. It might not happen so soon so I suppose it could go to the last days [of the window]. Or it could happen in the next two days.

"What's happening is a dream move for him [Bale] so I think in the end, this could have happened in a different way. But Tottenham will be in the end … there will be a three-way agreement for the player to go and Tottenham will accept most likely the biggest transfer in world football. In the end, if Tottenham accept it and everything goes all right, it will be end of story.

"In the end, this is an agreement between everybody. I'm not going to speak from his point of view. He goes to Real Madrid, the biggest club in world football, for the record transfer in world football. We wish him well."

"I gave the player the weekend off," Villas-Boas said. "Monday was then a day off for the squad. He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid. In the end, if it happens, we wish him all the best, what he left here is great memories … and the fact that he hasn't turned up … I don't think it's the correct behaviour. But in the end, it's a position of pressure and a statement from the player or whatever that means. It's a position they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence."

"I am a Spurs professional, not a Spurs fan, so you may have to have ask a Spurs fan what are their opinions about the situation," said Villas-Boas, who was also asked whether Bale owed it to his team-mates and manager to say goodbye. "It's very difficult. In the end, you know, difficult. I don't know. It's up to Gareth. He has a good relationship with everybody and he has saluted the players the other day, myself included. "Is he on strike? No, I don't think he's on strike. Will he be in tomorrow? I don't know. I'm not really in control of the situation. I've left it up to the club to decide what they want to do. Until the transfer happens, the player is a Tottenham player. If there are orders for him to be here and he is not, I can only leave it to club officials to deal with it. It's up to the club to decide whether or not it's a breach of club rules. I've given my opinion on it. It's up to them to decide whether they act on it or not."

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

 

Luis Suarez 2013 2

Luis Suarez, FC Liverpool

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist - Men

Gareth Bale, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suárez and Robin van Persie

PFA Young Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gareth Bale, Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere

PFA Women's Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gemma Davison, Toni Duggan, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Jodie Taylor

 Suarez has been honored by the PFA to selection on the Player of the Year Award shortlist through acknowledgement by his peers

There are some eyebrows raised by the selection of Suarez - not due to his goal scoring skills, but because of his conduct on the pitch in the past.

Suárez has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. However, previously his reputation was damaged by an eight-match ban he received for racially abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield last season. And his handball denied Ghana an appearance in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. In the past Suarez has been accused of diving.

If Suárez wins the award on April 28, it may put the PFA in an uncomfortable position given his background.

Suárez's rivals for the award are Gareth Bale, who has also been nominated in the Young Player category, Robin van Persie, who won it last season before leaving Arsenal for Manchester United, Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), and Juan Mata (Chelsea).

Surprisingly there are no defenders or goalkeepers on the list;  no nominations from holders Manchester City; and star Swansea forward Michu is missing from the list. Welbeck, Wilshere and Carrick are the only English players out of the 12 men nominated. For the first time, there will be a Women's Player of the Year prize too, with Scotland's Kim Little among those nominated.

PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, yesterday defended the inclusion of Luis Suárez on the six-man shortlist. The footballers are shortlisted on the basis of votes cast by their fellow professionals.

Taylor thinks the Uruguayan's match performances, including 29 goals for Liverpool this campaign, make him worthy of inclusion.

"Sometimes controversy travels with players," said Taylor. "Sometimes it is in their very nature. Sometimes it is that very intensity that causes a problem also makes sure they win.

"Luis Suárez is helping to restore Liverpool. It is a credit to them that he seems comfortable there and no one could deny he is one of the finest players in the world."

"It is very difficult at times," said Taylor. "Players are expected to be top role models and set the finest example. That goes with the trade these days.

"I don't underestimate the need for them to do all they can to be seen as a good example. But they are also human beings. It is not always possible to put old heads on relatively young shoulders.

"This is a footballing award and Suárez's footballing ability shines through. It would be naive to think controversy won't continue to travel with him. But I think his football has maintained his place."

Suárez's manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, thinks Suarez deserves the award.

"It is great for Luis and a mark of the team. I'm sure he will be the first to recognize the great support he has from the players around him. He has been absolutely outstanding this season. You can only judge these things on football and I am sure he is one of the favorites to win it."

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Gareth Bale - Tottenham Hotspur tickets: Sun, Apr 21 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City Tickets - White Hart Lane, London; Sat, Apr 27 Wigan Athletic v Tottenham Hotspur Tickets - DW Stadium, Wigan; Sat, May 4 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton Tickets - White Hart Lane, London.

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Wales v England Update: Bale Out - Ramsay Team Captain

Gareth Bale

Saturday's upcoming match between Wales and England will be like a derby. With all the pre-match fanfare and hype - players, coaches and fans are eagerly anticipating the most exciting International game on the agenda this weekend. The teams are ready to scrap - and due to the unpredictable nature and passion of the fixture either Wales or England could emerge victorious.

There are some changes that have been announced this morning.

Gareth Bale has been determined not fit enough to play in Wales' Euro 2012 qualifier against England on Saturday. Bale has been unable to train in Cardiff. Scans last night confirmed he had suffered a hamstring injury before reporting for duty.

Wales reportedly accused Spurs of being "incompetent amateurs" after Bale was forced to pull out.

Other reports suggested Bale was injured during training yesterday and Raymond Verheijen, Wales' assistant manager, was furious, responding with a "incompetent amateurs" rant on his Twitter page.

“Just spoken with the people at Spurs as they thought ‘incompetent amateurs’ had something to do with them. ‘Incompetent amateurs’ are the people who put in the news that Gareth Bale got injured in training with Wales while he did not train at all", said Verheijen to bring clarity to the situation.

“The ‘breaking news’ this morning about Gareth’s hamstring injury made us look like a bunch of amateurs. We had to protect ourselves.”

Aaron Ramsey has been named long-term captain of the Wales squad by manager, Gary Speed.

Former Wales captain, Craig Bellamy, is out due to injury.

Speed said: "Aaron Ramsey will be captain. "I thought about it a lot.

"As I have mentioned before, it is about the future and planning ahead.

"There were two or three candidates. I thought about what is best for the team going forward.

"I spoke to Aaron before making the decision and told him there were certain responsibilities and duties that would go with it, and to see if he was happy with it.

"I'm delighted and he was really happy. I made the decision because I thought it was best for the team and the future of the team." 

WALES NATIONAL SQUAD

Captain: Aaron Ramsay (Arsenal)

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Wolverhampton), Boaz Myhill (West Bromwich Albion), Lewis Price (Crystal Palace).

Defenders: Danny Collins (Stoke), James Collins (Aston Villa), Neal Eardley (Blackpool), Danny Gabbidon (West Ham), Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest), Lewin Nyatanga (Bristol City), Neil Taylor (Swansea), Ashley Williams (Swansea).

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea), Andrew Crofts (Norwich), Andy King (Leicester), Joe Ledley (Celtic), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal, Captain), David Vaughan (Blackpool) 

Forwards: Craig Bellamy (Cardiff), Simon Church (Reading), Robert Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest), Ched Evans (Sheffield United), Freddy Eastwood (Coventry), Steve Morison (Millwall), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading) .


THREE LIONS -
ENGLAND NATIONAL SQUAD

Captain: John Terry (Arsenal)

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Birmingham), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Manchester City) 

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea, Captain), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Matt Jarvis (Wolves), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Manchester City), Scott Parker (West Ham), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Strikers: Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Upcoming England National Team Fixtures

EURO 2012 (Qualifier): Wales v England Tickets 26 Mar 2011 15:00 Millenium Stadium
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Friendly: England v Ghana Tickets 29 Mar 2011 20:00 Wembley Stadium
London, United Kingdom
EURO 2012 (Qualifier): England v Switzerland Tickets 4 Jun 2011 16:45 Wembley Stadium
London, United Kingdom
Friendly: England v Netherlands Tickets 10 Aug 2011 0:00 Wembley Stadium
London, United Kingdom
EURO 2012 (Qualifier): England v Wales Tickets 6 Sep 2011 0:00 Wembley Stadium
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