Gareth Bale says he has improved in his time at Real Madrid

With El Clasico fast approaching, the Southampton academy graduate has had his say on his form this season.

Gareth Bale has spoken about how he believes he has improved as a player in his time at Real Madrid, despite being on the end of fierce criticism last season.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man seems to have found his stride again for Madrid this season, in spite of a recent injury, scoring 15 goals in 21 appearances, including a four-goal haul in their 10-2 win over Rayo Vallecano.

He was an instant hit at the Santiago Bernabéu, helping his club win two major trophies with 22 goals in 44 appearances, including the vital winning goal that put Los Blancos ahead in the Champions League final.

Real's form began to deteriorate during the 2014/15 season and even though Bale continued to find the net on a regular basis, he became a scapegoat for his team's failures and was regularly booed by sections of the home support.

The Welsh wizard told Sky Sports why he found it tough last season, and how his hard work has paid off.

"Last season I didn't play to anywhere near to my potential," he said. It was important for me to keep working hard, to keep fighting. It is difficult playing in a foreign country."

The Madrid star went on to suggest he is more settled in the Spanish capital now, and how last year's poor form helped develop him into a better player adding:

"I've felt more settled, more involved in the team this year and I think that has shown in performances on the pitch. It's good to have a bad season, you really do learn a lot about yourself and I feel this season I took (what happened) last season on board. I understand the game a lot more over here and hopefully there is a lot more still to come in the future."

Bale's comments were made in the build up to the second Clasico of the season, where Madrid will be looking for revenge after being humiliated at the Bernabéu in November. Barcelona won 4-0 that day, and have since built up a 10 point lead over their main rivals in La Liga.

Real currently sit in third place, and with only eight games to go, a win for Madrid would cut the gap to seven points, and at least put some form of pressure on the Catalans.



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