England return excites Real star Bale

Gareth Bale admits he is relishing the opportunity to return to England ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final clash with Manchester City.

The Spanish giants travel to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday for the first-leg of the encounter, which will mark Bale’s first match away to English opposition since his world-record transfer from Tottenham in 2013.

And the Wales international now hopes to extend his good record against City.

“I think we won a few times, I’ve scored a few times against them,” he told reporters. “It will be a very good game for sure, they’re a very tough team but we’ll be going there to try and win and do everything we can to get to the final.

“I always loved playing in the Premier League, I still watch it and it will be great to go back. The most important thing is to get the victory.

“When you go into big games against big teams like that, no-one’s ever really the favourite.

“You have to work hard and play really well to win. We are going to go in now with confidence, though we know they won against Stoke so we’re looking forward to it, I’m excited. “

Bale was hailed as “phenomenal” by Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after his brace helped Los Blancos recover from 2-0 down to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2 on Saturday.

“All I know is the team worked really hard altogether and it doesn’t matter who scored the goals,” he added. “The most important thing is to get the victory and keep the pressure on the other two teams.

“We’d have preferred an easier win [laughs] but a win’s a win. It builds confidence no matter what, and I definitely think we’ve shown the character we’ve got in the squad in the last few months.

“We’ve really brought ourselves back into the league, we’re into the Champions League semi-finals so confidence is high and hopefully we can carry that on.”

Real are one point behind La Liga leaders Barcelona following the latest round of matches and sit third in the table with Atletico Madrid second, only trailing the reigning champions on goal difference.