Another Bale hopes to shine at Club World Cup

10 December 2013 02:46

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.

While content to play the pauper to Real Madrid star Gareth's prince, Chris Bale says he does share some qualities with the Bernabeu's 91-million euro ($125 million) man.

"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 told the Auckland City website on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old, who migrated to New Zealand six years ago, has a chance to put his own name up in lights this week when Auckland City represent the Oceania confederation at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.

Auckland line up alongside European champions Bayern Munich and Brazilian star Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro in the seven-team competition, which features the club champions from each of FIFA's continental confederations.

The New Zealanders, most of whom have full-time jobs outside football, face the host nation's Raja Casablanca on Wednesday, with Bale full of optimism after Auckland warmed up for the tournament with a creditable 1-0 loss to La Liga side Espanyol last week.

"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," he said.

"We've got enough about us to get over the line against Casablanca, we just need to play the way we play."

Auckland have appeared at the Club World Cup four times previously, finishing last on every occasion except 2009, when they beat UAE champions Al Ahli then shocked African title-holders TP Mazembe in the play-off for fifth place.

For Bale, appearing at the Club World Cup is reward for the sacrifices he has made to keep playing the game he loves, including training up to five times a week while holding down a full-time job as a manager with a beverage company.

After failing to make the grade in the professional leagues, Bale said his priorities changed and he was now content to help Auckland defy their underdog status and look to advance in the tournament so he has a chance to swap shirts with Ronaldinho.

"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.

Source: AFP