Cristiano Ronaldo is without question one of the best soccer players in the world, but he is apparently a very accommodating teammate as well. Gareth Bale, who joined Real Madrid last summer, has cited Ronaldo as one of the primary reasons he has adjusted so quickly to his new team and country.
Bale is extremely complimentary towards Ronaldo, and recently spoke of the influence his new teammate has had on him:
“He is a great teammate and friend. He always gives me lots of advice and is helping me a great deal. He was my idol before I met him and that’s even more the case now. He has made everything a lot easier for me. We can strike up a great partnership on the pitch. To play with him every week and watch him in training, I kind of learn off him. It’s important for me to see what he does and I can hopefully improve myself as a player.”
It is constructive when egos can be set aside in the interest of winning matches, and despite the fact that Bale is now the most expensive player in the world, a title previously held by Ronaldo, there is clearly no animosity between the two players. Bale appears perfectly willing to learn from the more experienced star, while Ronaldo has clearly relished the role of mentor for the younger player.
This tutelage has been helpful, as Ronaldo has been forced to miss some time this season. He is currently in the midst of a three-game Spanish league suspension for his actions against Athletic Bilbao, when the Real Madrid forward was issued a red card and then mocked the match officials. During this absence, Bale and other young players have been forced to step up their games, and they have responded. A recent 3-0 win at Getafe thrust Real Madrid into a three-way tie atop the La Liga standings.
The adjustment to Spain has been more difficult than expected for Bale, a fact he readily admits:
“I thought it was going to be easier, but bit by bit I am learning the language. It is vital for me to learn to speak Spanish to feel more integrated. My teammates help me to feel comfortable”
Winning tends to take care of many problems, and Real Madrid certainly does plenty of that. And with teammates like Ronaldo, the transition for Bale will continue to get easier going forward.