Oceania Football Confederation > News > FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 > Pragmatic Bale shrugs off namesake connection

Pragmatic Bale shrugs off namesake connection

But the pragmatic Auckland City player takes the tenuous connection in his stride in his usual calm fashion.
“I don’t know Gareth Bale and we don’t have a similar playing style except perhaps in that we have a similar work ethic, strong desire and a competitive streak,” he said.
Bale, Chris not Gareth, came to New Zealand with his parents several years ago and enjoys the lifestyle the country has to offer and sees football as a bonus rather than his main job.
Its easy to misinterpret his perspective on the game as dismissive, but that’s hardly the case.
“When I was younger I was definitely a football supporter. I was a big Liverpool fan but as you get older your priorities change.
“When the realisation comes that you’re not going to live your dream as a professional footballer you let that go and learn to appreciate the things you’ve got,” he said.
Bale has been an ever-present in the Auckland City set-up since joining the Navy Blues from Waitakere United at the start of last season and is an important cog in the midfield engine room.
And that attitude of gratitude underpins everything the Kiwi-Welsh Bale is about.
“Since I came to New Zealand I’ve had it pretty good in football terms. Not many Welsh players can say they’ve played in four FIFA Club World Cups,” he said.
A regional area manager for Frucor in his day job, Bale believes Auckland City has a solid look to it this year that gives the Navy Blues a big chance in Wednesday’s do-or-die showdown with Raja Casablanca.
And he firmly believes the warm-up defeat to Espanyol could be a springboard to success.
“We did quite well in the Espanyol match in Barcelona and I’m not afraid to say we dominated the first half of that game against a top team.
“There weren’t any youngsters in that Espanyol side and I think we had a lot of positives particularly in the first half, so we should leverage off that success.
Bale acknowledges that Raja Casablanca in a competitive match is a different type of challenge after a 30,000km round the world journey but he remains optimistic nonetheless.
“We’ve got enough about us to get over the line against Casablanca, we just need to play the way we play. Football is a funny old game, so much comes down to what happens on the day,” he said.
Bale is as far away from a dreamer as you can get but when drawn on the idea of playing in the latter stages of a Club World Cup, he indulges the question probably out of courtesy.
If he had the chance, who would he like to swap shirts with most? Ronaldinho of Atletico Miniero or Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich?
“Ronaldinho. I would keep it with the rest of my shirts and one day it may go up on the wall once my wife lets me have my own way with a couple of the rooms in our new house,” he said.
Auckland City’s Chris Bale remains as far apart from Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale as one is likely to get, but after speaking to him you wouldn’t bet against the down-to-earth Navy Blues man being a key figure should the Kiwi side spring a major surprise come Wednesday.
Coverage of the Raja Casablanca versus Auckland City FC match is available live on Sommet Sports at 8.30pm NZST on Thursday 12 December.
Sommet Sports is running two full replays at 5pm and 10pm the same day.
Story courtesy Auckland City FC Media.
For more on Auckland City FC go to www.aucklandcityfc.com

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