Gareth Bale has gone to great lengths to downplay his match-up with Real Madrid team-mate Crisitano Ronaldo ahead of Wales’ Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal, but it’s hard not to look past the two superstars.
Wales have often been referred to, erroneously, as a one-man team who rely on the star power of Bale to propel them to victory. Chris Coleman’s side have certainly put such suggestions to bed though, with a number of players coming to the fore to lead the Welsh Dragons to the last four.
However, the world’s most expensive player remains at the forefront of their charge, and it’s impossible to ignore a comparison with Ronaldo, the man who previously boasted the highest transfer fee, ahead of Wednesday’s fixture.
Here is how the two players’ international careers stack up…
Bale won his 60th cap in the Euro 2016 quarter-final against Belgium, having made his debut in 2006 to become Wales’ youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 315 days.
Ronaldo became Portugal’s most capped player at Euro 2016, breaking the record of Luis Figo, and has now made 131 appearances for his country.
Wales had waited 58 years to play at a major finals following the 1958 World Cup. But Bale has made the most of his opportunity with three goals and one assist. Ronaldo is a veteran of major tournaments having played in seven – four European Championships and three World Cups – but has never really made a lasting impression in any.
Bale is joint fourth on Wales’ all-time scoring list with Dean Saunders on 22 goals – and six short of equalling Ian Rush’s record. Ronaldo is Portugal’s record goalscorer with 60, far eclipsing the previous best mark of 47 set by Pauleta.
Both Bale and Ronaldo have been involved in four goals at Euro 2016. Bale leads by three goals to two with Ronaldo having an extra assist. While Ronaldo has had many more goal attempts – 32 to Bale’s 20 – only nine of his efforts have been on target. That rate of 28.1 per cent compares miserably to Bale’s 70 per cent – 14 of his shots being on target. Ronaldo has also shown his impatience, being caught offside 11 times compared to Bale’s two.
With reporting from Press Association Sport