Gareth Bale can develop further at Real Madrid, says Graham Hunter
Playing with Real Madrid's stars will take Gareth Bale to a new level, Graham Hunter told Revista de la Liga.
Last Updated: 04/09/13 10:59am
The Wales ace is currently on international duty but will link up with his new Los Blancos team-mates next week, following his world record 100m euro transfer from Tottenham.
And Hunter reckons that 24-year-old Bale, who netted 21 times in the Premier League last season and bagged the PFA Player of the Year award, will continue to develop by training with some of the world's finest footballers.
"I don't think anyone is claiming Bale is already the finished article," said the Spain-based journalist. "But he's got very bright people around him now, in the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Paul Clement and Carlo Ancelotti, who are a proven combination.
"And if Bale begins to learn from daily work with Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos then Madrid are going to do a lot for him - and that's of mutual benefit.
"It's normally a big journey for a Brit to go to Spain and we haven't always succeeded, we haven't always adapted - but we don't need to get fixated solely on what Bale can do for Real instantly because of his price."
Key to Bale's success at Real Madrid, says former Valencia midfielder Gaizka Mendieta, will be his willingness to learn Spanish and integrate himself into the squad.
Mendieta believes taking a confident but adaptable approach is the best policy for Bale in the early months of his Real Madrid career.
"Learning the language is key," said the former Spain international. "You're going to find people in the dressing room and in the club that speak English but when you go to a new country you need to settle in and that really helps.
"He was the leader, the key and the main player for Tottenham. But when you go to Madrid you've got [Cristiano] Ronaldo and then five or six other [top] players, so he has to be strong when he gets the ball, and do what he knows best."
However, it's not just what Bale does on the pitch that matters, pointed out Guillem Balague.
The forward will also have to satisfy media and political demands away from the Bernabeu, as well as accept he is below Portugal star Ronaldo in the pecking order, if he is to triumph in Spain, says the skysports.com columnist.
"Bale gave a cover [story] to Marca on the night he was travelling from Luton to Madrid and he hasn't given anything special to [rival newspaper] AS - and that's the kind of thing he'll have to look after," said Balague.
"Real Madrid will tell him all about it - he has to give the same to everybody from that point of view - but, then, in the changing room, he's already admitted Ronaldo is the boss.
"How he plays and the position he plays in is the kind of thing that will tell him about his hierarchy in the team - but he will have to accept that perhaps at first he will have to be in one position on the pitch and grow around Ronaldo, who is the boss and one of the best players in the world."