Gareth Bale delighted with free kick
ESPN FC: No Ronaldo, no problem
Gareth Bale has hailed his 35-yard free kick during Wednesday’s 4-1 Champions League win over Galatasaray as among the best goals of his career to date.
• Rigg: Arbeloa the surprise hero
With the injured Cristiano Ronaldo watching from the stands at the Bernabeu, Bale was on set-piece duty, and curled a shot over the wall and out of reach of goalkeeper Eray Iscan midway through the first half to put his side in front.
“I am happy with the game and with the goal,” the former Tottenham Hotspur star told Real Madrid TV. “I have been practising my free kicks and luckily this one came off for me. It is one of the best goals of my career.”
The Wales winger added that he and his teammates had shown character to take control of the game even though they played over an hour with 10 men after Sergio Ramos was sent off for a professional foul on Umut Bulut.
“We showed character and teamwork to play with one man less,” he said. “There are no limits for what we can achieve in this competition. We have a great chance to win the Champions League this year.”
Bale’s coach Carlo Ancelotti told his postmatch news conference that he had been impressed with his player’s adaptability during the game, although his best position remained the right wing.
“[Bale] is more dangerous and more comfortable on the right because when he comes inside he has the chance to shoot,” Ancelotti said in quotes reported by Madrid’s official website. “In the second half he played more in the centre and he did very well.”
The Italian coach, who appeared to snap at Ramos as the defender traipsed off the pitch following a record 17th red card of his Madrid career, said his team’s defending had been sloppy both in that incident and when Pepe let Bulut run behind him to equalise soon after Bale's strike.
“Ramos did not need to take that risk,” Ancelotti said. “He just had to get the other side of him. It was the same as when we conceded the goal, the danger was in behind.”
Overall, though, Ancelotti said his side had played well, especially considering they were missing talisman Ronaldo due to a thigh injury, with the second-half contribution of full-backs Alvaro Arbeloa and Marcelo proving crucial.
“It is quite different without Cristiano,” he said. “His absence encourages and motivates the others. We were not so good in the first half. We did not play quickly enough. We had chances with Bale, but it was not easy to play because our full-backs did not get very far forward. After the red card, the match changed. The team reacted very well. The squad has a lot of quality.”