Real Madrid star Gareth Bale hopes to help his side to win the Champions League this season after admitting that taking the European title in his debut campaign at the Bernabeu was a huge "relief". The Welshman revealed that following his world record move from Tottenham, club president Florentino Perez told him that he signed him with the specific mission to clinch the long-awaited 10th European Cup for Los Blancos.
The La Liga giants became then the first club to claim the trophy 10 times after beating Atletico Madrid in the 2013-2014 final. Yet for many years there were concerns over Los Blancos' European form as they hadn't won the Champions League since 2001-2002 – while arch-enemies Barcelona won it three times in that period.
Florentino Perez decided to end the bad run by breaking the bank to make Bale the most expensive player of all time, paying Tottenham €101m (£81.6m, $114m) to lure him from White Hart Lane, as Football Leas recently revealed. Bale responded to the club president's challenge and scored a goal in the final to help Real Madrid to achieve La Décima – having also done the same in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.
"The fact we won, the celebration... I think about the relief. I think we'd not won the Champions League for 12 years. I remember when I signed for Real Madrid the president said to me that he'd brought me to win la Décima. It was nice that we won it in my first season and hopefully we'll win more," Bale said to Uefa as quoted by the club website ahead of the quarter-final first-leg with Wolfsburg.
The Welshman admitted that the pressure following such a big move was high in Spain but he has tried to just focus in his own game. "I try not to look at it like that. People expect a lot from you because of the price paid and all that, but I try to concentrate on my football every day and on what I do in training and in the games. Of course there are ups and downs, but the important thing is how you react to them."
The Spurs hero's second season at the Santiago Bernabeu, however, was not as good though, as many blamed him for the disappointing campaign without silverware. He was also under big scrutiny in the beginning of the current campaign due to his recurrent injuries but has managed to prove the doubters wrong with some recent impressive performances, including one to guide his side to the victory over Barcelona in El Clasico at the weekend. Now he hopes to continue the good run ahead of the trip to Wolfsburg on Wednesday night (6 April).
"It's been a bit of an annoying season, with little injuries interrupting my form, especially when I was playing well. Regarding the objectives, we're a bit behind in the league, but in the Champions League we know that we are in a good position and we're going to fight as much as we can in each game. Hopefully that will take us to where we want to be," he said.
"We knew that any team that made it to the quarter-finals would be difficult. We're looking forward to playing (against Wolfsburg). We're going to go out to win both games and hopefully we can."