Gareth Bale has openly admitted he enjoys playing for country more than his club Real Madrid, a statement which won’t go down well with the Spanish giants and its fan base.

Bale hasn’t played for Real since October 5 and hasn’t featured since scoring an equaliser in Wales 1-1 draw against Croatia last month. A calf injury has kept him away from training with his club’s first-team squad for over a month now.

However, him training in Cardiff before joining the national squad for their Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier has raised eyebrows. “I definitely have more excitement playing for Wales,” Bale said on Friday. “I’ve been with most of the older players since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. It’s normal.”

He continued, “With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feel more comfortable. But it doesn’t change what I do on the pitch. I always give 100 percent on the pitch wherever I am, that’s what I always strive to do.”

The 30-year-old has often been criticised by his club teammates and in the media for his level of commitment for the club. Digs have also been made for his love of club with former Real striker Predrag Mijatovic saying golf his at the top of Bale’s priority list followed by Wales and then Real Madrid.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me,” Bale said of his golf criticism in the Spanish media. “On one it said triple bogey – and I’ve never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross! It’s funny. Some of the things I have seen, people don’t understand and don’t know what they’re on about. So I just find it quite funny,” he said.

While defending his decision to return to training, Bale said, “I’ve done as much as I can in terms of trying to get back as quick as I can. If there had been a Real Madrid game this week, I would’ve been fit and training to play. Maybe to them it doesn’t look great, but it’s just a kind of coincidence that the national team comes around this week.”

Wales need to register victories over Azerbaijan and Hungary besides hoping Slovakia drop points to ensure automatic qualification for the Eur0 2020.