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Football: Bale back to Premier League best - Valdes

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes believes Gareth Bale is back to the form which made him Premier League Player of the Year last season. Valdes will be tasked with trying to stop the Welshman and the rest of his free-scoring Real Madrid teammates when he lines up for Barca in what could be his final appearance for the club against Los Blancos. Bale has scored 14 times so far in his debut season in Madrid and Valdes in under no illusions as to the threat he will pose to Barca on Sunday.

Football: Bale beauty guides Madrid to win over Elche

A stunning long-range strike from Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid moved three points clear of title rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid as they beat Elche 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. After an unconvincing start, Asier Illarramendi's deflected effort had given the hosts a half-time lead. Bale then made the game safe 19 minutes from time when he collected possession midway inside the Elche half and blasted the ball in off the underside of the bar.

Bale back in Real squad for Cup clash with Atletico

MADRID (Reuters) - Gareth Bale has recovered from a calf problem and is back in Real Madrid's squad for the first leg of their King's Cup semi-final against holders Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. The Wales winger's debut season in Spain has been disrupted by a series of minor injuries after joining from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee and he has missed Real's last two matches after picking up the injury in a La Liga game against Granada on January 25.

Football: Another Bale hopes to shine at Club WCup

A Welsh footballer with the surname Bale is out to grab the limelight on a global stage this week. However it will not be Real Madrid 'Galactico' Gareth, but Auckland City's Chris Bale who is looking for the chance to shine in the Club World Cup in Morocco. And although the pair were born within 30 kilometres (20 miles) of each other in south Wales, any similarity ends there. Gareth is among the world's most expensive players while Chris is plying his footballing trade as an amateur in New Zealand.

Football: Madrid can win the Champions League, says Bale

Gareth Bale believes Real Madrid have all it takes to end a 12-year Champions League title drought as they cruised into the last 16 with a 4-1 win over Galatasaray on Wednesday. Nine-time winners Madrid made light of Sergio Ramos' sending off midway through the first-half as Bale opened the scoring with sumptuous dipping free-kick from 35 yards to put the hosts in front.

Football: Five memorable Ryan Giggs goals

Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs celebrates his 40th birthday on Friday, when he will join a select band of players to have continued playing elite-level football into their fifth decade. Here, AFP Sports selects five of the most memorable goals from his extraordinary 22-year professional career: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (Premier League, September 1992)

Football: Ryan Giggs factfile

Factfile on Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs, who celebrates his 40th birthday on Friday: Name: Ryan Joseph Giggs (born Ryan Joseph Wilson) Date of birth: November 29, 1973 Place of birth: Cardiff, Wales Position: Left-winger/central midfielder Club: Manchester United (1990-date) Appearances: 953 Goals: 168 Debut: March 2, 1991 (v Everton, Manchester) National team: Wales (1991-2007) Appearances: 64 Goals: 12 Debut: October 16, 1991 (v Germany, Nuremberg)

Football: Giggs confident of United New Year revival

Ryan Giggs expects Manchester United to hit top form in the New Year. The Premier League champions may be on a 10-match unbeaten run since their shock home loss to West Bromwich Albion in September but that includes draws with Southampton and Cardiff where points have been squandered in the closing stages. In Europe, United have still to make sure of their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and should they lose at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday the English giants could face a tough task to qualify come their final group game.

Football: Bale enjoying Madrid life after slow start

Gareth Bale has said he is relishing life at Real Madrid now that he is clear of the niggling injuries that blighted his start to life in the Spanish capital. Bale, who cost Real a reported 91 million euros ($123 million, £76 million) back in September, spent nearly a month on the sidelines due to a thigh problem. However, he has made a blistering return to form in the past month with three goals and five assists in his last four games. "It has been great ever since I have been here, everyone has made me feel very welcome," he said at a sponsor's event on Thursday.

Football: Bale revels in 'great' night

Gareth Bale believes he is approaching his best form after scoring twice and providing two more goals as Real Madrid thrashed Sevilla 7-3 on Wednesday. Bale was making his first start at the Santiago Bernabeu and soon had his first home goal when he thumped in the opener on 13 minutes. He then had a slice of luck 14 minutes later as his free-kick deflected in off Alberto Moreno for Real's second.
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