GARETH BALE has been hailed for his ‘phenomenal’ five-time Champions League success.
The Real Madrid superstar, 32, is with the Wales squad preparing for the Nations League clash in Poland tomorrow, fresh from Saturday’s final triumph over Liverpool.
Gareth Bale headed straight for Welsh duty after his latest Champions League joy
Bale was an unused substitute in Paris but continued his love affair with the European Cup by collecting another medal to follow on from victories in 2014. 2016, 2017 and 2018.
As SunSport revealed on Monday, Wales captain Bale attended Real’s victory parade in the Spanish capital and then linked up with his international team-mates in Portugal before the flight to Wroclaw.
Wales boss Robert Page said: “He’s in good spirits as he always is. He was adamant he was meeting the players in Portugal to fly to Poland with them, which speaks volumes. He wanted to be with the squad as soon as possible.
“What an achievement for him personally to be a part of that group of people, that team that’s achieved that, is phenomenal.
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“Not many players can say they’ve done that, so credit to him for that. He’s as humble as ever, he’s met up with the group and he’s been first class right away.”
Bale received a standing ovation from Real fans on his Bernabeu farewell on Sunday night.
The forward, who will leave the Spanish giants when his contract expires next month, has had a turbulent relationship with the Madrid supporters but he ended on a high and signed autographs, shirts and scarves.
And Bale’s national manager Page felt his talisman got the reception he deserved.
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Page added: “Rightly so. I thought they showed class and rightly so for what he’s achieved for that football club.
“You look back to what he’s done, scoring winners in Champions League finals and in the manner in which he’s done it, he deserves all the plaudits, absolutely.”
Wales have one eye on Sunday’s World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine so Bale and star midfielder Aaron Ramsey are expected to start on the bench against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland.
Page said: “Like I always do with senior players, we’ll have individual plans.
“We’ll sit down, have a conversation with him and it’s about getting him in the best physical condition and mental condition for Wednesday and Sunday.
“It’s risk and reward. The biggest game we’ve got is on Sunday and that’s no disrespect to Poland whatsoever.
“We’re going to show them complete respect but we’d be mad to jeopardise our top, top players so, without answering it directly, you know where I’m going with it.”
Brennan Johnson has been given a few days off following promotion with Nottingham Forest to the Premier League.
But Huddersfield’s Sorba Thomas, who was on the losing side in Sunday’s play-off final against Forest, has joined Page’s squad for their Nations League A opener.
Page added: “It’s the highs and lows of football, isn’t it? You’ve got one that’s absolutely elated with the result of the game and is now going to be playing Premier League football, and one that’s going to be bitterly disappointed that he’s not got his dream.
“Sorba is slightly different to Brennan, he’s not played as many minutes and had as much football.
“Credit to him, he flew out yesterday and got here this morning and he is with the boys for breakfast today, showing that commitment to be with the group right away.
“Brennan’s slightly different. I’ve given him a few days off after the final. He’s played a lot of football this season so he won’t be part of Wednesday’s group, but he’ll be there at the hotel waiting for us on Wednesday night in Wales when we fly back, ready for Sunday’s game.”