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Bale looks forward to Welsh homecoming

dpa logodpa 2/06/2017

Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale is excited about returning to the land of his birth for the Champions League final against Juventus.

Gareth Bale is looking forward to a "dream" Champions League final homecoming as Real Madrid face Juventus in Cardiff on Saturday, but fears he may have to start the game on the bench.

The Welsh winger has fought his way back from a calf injury to be fit for the final and would love to dazzle at the National Stadium of Wales.

"It is massively special for me personally, as it is where I was born, where I grew up," Bale told reporters at a club media day.

"Any Champions League final is special, but obviously this is a little bit extra special. I always dreamed I'd play a Champions League final, but never in my home town."

Born in Cardiff on July 16, 1989, Bale has already enjoyed one trip back to his homeland with Real Madrid, featuring in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla, which Madrid won 2-0.

Ideally for Bale he would be starting up front with Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored both goals that night, but due to his injury problems Madrid have changed their set-up.

Now Real coach Zinedine Zidane favours a 4-4-2 with Isco playing as a number 10 behind Ronaldo and Karim Benzema and given it led Madrid to the Spanish title and Champions League final, he may decide not to revert to 4-3-3 to incorporate Bale, who has not played since April 23 when he went off injured against Barcelona.

"I am not 100 per cent, I haven't played for six or seven weeks," Bale added.

"If I'm called upon to start, I will start, obviously. But to last 90 minutes ... that would be difficult."

Things have not gone completely to plan for Bale since he arrived at Real Madrid from Tottenham for a world record STG86-million-pound fee in 2013.

The winger has experienced extreme highs and lows, with triumphs like scoring a crucial goal in the 2014 Champions League final that helped Madrid beat rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 offset by long periods out of the team due to injury.

It has been a bittersweet four years for Bale at the Bernabeu, but if he can make a decisive impact on Saturday back on home soil, it would all have been worth it.

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