Bale all smiles on Wales return

‘We want to create excitement among our fans’ – Zidane on future

Madrid’s world-record signing has had to weather a difficult spell in the Spanish capital after his form attracted mounting criticism from fans and media.

The on-going saga reached a new low on Sunday when two supporters who were filmed screaming insults and kicking his car after Real’s 2-1 El Clasico defeat to Barcelona.

However, while he may feel unappreciated in Madrid, his Welsh colleagues, who are bemused by the criticism he is receiving, have welcomed him back with open arms.

“I can’t believe he is getting stick,??? striker Simon Church told Walesonline. ???Just look at his record and performances.

“But it’s part of being one of the best players in the world. The criticism won’t affect him. You saw that with the way he came back against Levante and got two goals.

“Plus, he’s been brilliant for us. When he plays for Wales, everyone loves him.”

Burnley’s Sam Vokes said the recent criticism in Spain will not affect the 25-year-old against Israel in Haifa this weekend, as tries to help his country qualify for a major tournament final for the first time since 1958.

“I’m sure he’s strong enough to cope with it,” Vokes said. “He’s a class player – and when it comes to playing with Wales he’s shown how passionate he is towards it.

“The performances he has been putting in have been fantastic and hopefully he can carry on doing that and take us on.”

Wales are unbeaten in their four Group B games to date, including a 0-0 draw with favourites Belgium in Brussels in their last outing. Victory over leaders Israel would put them top.