Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is hoping to strike fear into the Barcelona defenders as he declares he is ‘ready for battle’ ahead of the first Clasico of the season.
Los Blancos welcome La Liga leaders Barca to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening looking to knock Luis Enrique’s side off the top of the table.
Bale has only played twice for Real Madrid in the last six weeks after aggravating a calf injury shortly after playing for Wales against Andorra when Chris Coleman’s side had already sealed Euro 2016 qualification.
Bale returned to action for the 3-2 defeat by Sevilla before last week’s international break as Rafa Benitez’s side surrendered their place at the top of La Liga.
But Bale, signed for a world record £86million back in the summer of 2013, has insisted he has put his injury concerns behind him ahead of the mouthwatering clash.
‘I’ve been out injured for six weeks and I’ve not had the opportunity to play as much as I would like, but I feel fit, strong and ready for battle,’ said Bale.
Madrid and Barcelona are the two biggest teams in Spain. The rivalry is huge, it’s been there for many years, and we’re always competing for league titles, the Champions League and other competitions.
‘There is a great rivalry, which adds pressure on the pitch and makes the games so exciting.’
After a disappointing 2014-15 season, both for Real Madrid and Bale personally, the Wales international will be frustrated to have seen the start to this campaign hampered by injury.
But the 26-year-old, who was regularly booed by the club’s supporters last season, insists he continues to do his best for the team and believes his pace can cause problems for Barcelona.
‘My speed and power make defenders fearful, so that’s always a positive for us,’ Bale added. ‘I keep trying to do my best, to work hard and to help the team win.
On Saturday, Bale will be hoping to emulate his display in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against the same opposition, where he ran the ball from the halfway line to score the winning goal in a 2-1 victory.
‘The goal against Barca in the Copa del Rey is among my most favourite of my career and it’s one that will be etched in my memory for a long time.’