Wales manager Chris Coleman issues warning to Cyprus over Gareth Bale

Wales' Gareth Bale is pictured after a foul by Cyprus' Marios Nikolaou
Image: Chris Coleman is wary of the treatment that Wales winger Gareth Bale may receive

Wales boss Chris Coleman has warned Cyprus to forget about attempting to bully Gareth Bale.

Cyprus employed strong-arm tactics to try and curb Bale when Wales beat them 2-1 in their European Qualifier in Cardiff last October - picking up five bookings on a night when Coleman's side were actually reduced to 10 men following Andy King's dangerous second-half challenge.

Coleman expects Cyprus to make it just as hard for them in Nicosia on Thursday night when Group B leaders Wales hope to take a massive step towards qualification for their first major competition finals since 1958. 

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"They gave him [Bale] a little bit and Cyprus are going to do what they've got to do to get a result," Coleman said.

"But Gareth's a strong boy and he knows how to ride a tackle. He can't see everyone coming, but if he gets a clump I expect the referee - whether it's in Wales or in Cyprus - to deal with it accordingly.

"We're not asking for special treatment, we just want normal treatment.

Euro first-timers?

Euro first-timers?

Learn more about Wales' opponents Cyprus and Israel in our latest European Qualifiers feature.

"I remember going to Scotland and an ex-Scottish player said: 'He can't play if he hasn't got any legs'.

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"That's fine if you want to try and go and kick him, as long as the referee sees that and deals with it we'll play against nine men or 10 men, but in the last couple of years we've never been bullied."

Wales' midfielder Gareth Bale celebrates
Image: Bale has been crucial to Wales qualification campaign

Wales had to hang on for victory in Cardiff after King's rash challenge on Cyprus midfielder Constantinos Makridis forced them to play the final 42 minutes with 10 men.

But Coleman felt Cyprus were fortunate to finish the game with a full complement of players after dishing out some rough treatment to Bale and company.

"One or two of their challenges the boundaries weren't stepped over, they were hopped over," he added.

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"I was surprised we came off the pitch with one man less than Cyprus and it wasn't 10 v 10 by the end of the game.

"They'll make it difficult for us again, but why should they make it easy?

"We'll just concentrate on what we want to do."

Wales know victories in Cyprus and at home to Israel on Sunday will end their 58-year wait for qualification for a major finals and book their place at next summer's European Championship in France.

Gareth Bale and Chris Coleman shake hands
Image: Coleman has praised the Real Madrid player's attitude

Coleman's side top Group B with 14 points from six games and talisman Bale, who has scored five of Wales' seven goals in qualifying, comes into the game on a high after his brace in Real Madrid's 5-0 victory over Real Betis last weekend.

"You see Cristiano Ronaldo performing for Portugal and what it means to him every game, it's the same with Baley," Coleman said.

"The excitement on his face when he shows up for every game and that's all positive when in the past we've had negative thoughts when maybe this player or that player hasn't turned up because it doesn't mean enough to them.

"I don't think you could ever say that to Baley."

Watch Cyprus v Wales live on Sky Sports 1 from 7pm on Thursday.

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