Gareth Bale calls Wales’ first World Cup in 64 years a ‘Hollywood script’ as he lifts lid on emotional 16-year career

    GARETH BALE reckons Wales’ first World Cup appearance in 64 years is a “Hollywood script”.

    The Dragons captain is already back in Cardiff preparing for Qatar after scoring a crucial goal in Saturday’s Los Angeles FC’s MLS Cup final triumph against Philadelphia Union on penalties.

    Bale will be hoping to lead Wales to more fairytale stories in Qatar

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    Bale will be hoping to lead Wales to more fairytale stories in QatarCredit: Getty

    Bale was snapped with Welsh legends Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin — survivors from their last global appearance in 1958 — at their Vale of Glamorgan HQ yesterday.

    But Bale says his journey from his debut in 2006 and the shock death of Gary Speed five years later to Wales’ World Cup opener against USA on November 21 reads like something out of LA.

    The 33-year-old said: “There have been a lot of missed opportunities where we could have qualified and never did. 

    “To play with your mates as I do, having grown up with them in the youth system in Wales has been a fun time. No matter how life was at our clubs we really enjoy playing together. 

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    “It’s a Hollywood script that you wouldn’t believe. From where we are now to when we started out, if you’d offered me half of that I’d have bitten your hand off.

    “If Gary was here with us now he would be proud of what we’ve achieved, not just on the pitch but off it. 

    “Qualifying for three of four major tournaments, it’s what dreams are made of and I’m sure he’s looking down on us with a big smile and happy that Welsh football is in a great place.” 

    Tottenham legend Jones, 87, quipped: “Gareth now is known as the Welsh Wizard but I am the original Welsh Wizard.

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    “We did ourselves proud in 1958. For me, putting on that red shirt was my biggest honour.” 

    Former Real Madrid and Spurs star Bale will lead his team-mates to the Middle East where they also play Iran and England.

    Bale added: “It still doesn’t feel real that we are going. When we step foot on the plane to board for Qatar is when it will sink in. 

    “It’s so surreal. It’s been so long since we were last at a World Cup. 

    “Everybody dreams of qualifying in Wales and to have finally done it was an incredible achievement. Now we can look forward to doing ourselves, the fans and the country proud. It’s going to be a blast.” 

    Bale handed Wales a fitness scare with a recent leg injury. But the forward believes his 128th-minute leveller against Philadelphia last weekend has given him a shot of confidence.

    He added: “I had a slight problem a couple of weeks ago but I’m over that now. 

    “I was able to come up with a big goal when we really needed it. 

    “It was good to get some confidence going into the World Cup. It sets myself up nicely.”

    USA manager Gregg Berhalter warned his side: “One of the things that makes Gareth Bale scary is he’s got that explosiveness. 

    “You have to be aware of him at all times. He’s a dangerous player.”

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