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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale: You have to keep evolving as a player

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale: You have to keep evolving as a player
From ESPN - September 12, 2017

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale said he knows he must keep evolving as a player, with the Wales international having played predominantly as a central striker under Zinedine Zidane so far this season.

Bale had been a left-back when starting his career at Southampton but was moved to the left wing at Tottenham and has played primarily on the right wing in a 4-3-3 shape since joining Madrid four years ago.

However, Zidane has mostly opted for a 4-4-2 formation in recent months, particularly since Isco has earned a key playmaking presence in the team. Bale has struggled to find a place in the current system, looking uncomfortable as a centre forward and missing a number of chances when he came off the bench to replace injured No. 9 Karim Benzema in Saturday's 1-1 La Liga draw at home to Levante.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 28-year-old said that throughout his career he had changed his approach, and suggested there was more prestige to playing in attack.

"I am a different player, of course I am," Bale said. "I have had to change. When you are a young player who arrives on the scene and starts doing well, people figure you out. You have to find other ways to get past the opposition.

"It's been a long and eventful journey from coming in as a left-back to pretty much playing out on the right wing or at least up front. It's been a big transition. It feels like I got on the football ladder and kept climbing."

Bale's place in the pecking order has also become less certain lately, especially since the emergence of Marco Asensio in attack, but he said he is benefiting from the rotation policy under Zidane.

"Everyone that has come in has done really well," Bale said. "The manager has brought in [the rotation] and we have all bought into it. Sometimes you reach the end of the season and you are feeling the effects of playing 50 games, [so] having those few matches off does make a massive difference. It showed last season when we won [both] La Liga and the Champions League for the first time in so many years."

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