GARETH BALE wants ambitious Wales to beat Croatia to top spot in their Euro 2020 qualifying group.
Welsh star Bale is ready to shrug off his Real Madrid woes and fire Wales to the tournament in 15 months’ time.
He has been a target of the Bernabeu boo-boys this season with his future also is in doubt following the return of Zinedine Zidane as boss.
But Bale claims he is raring to go as Ryan Giggs’ side – without Aaron Ramsey through injury – aim to kick-off their qualifying campaign against Slovakia in Cardiff on Sunday in style.
Bale, 29, said: “I am ready and raring to go. I have been fine. I have only had one injury. I have been playing, I’ve scored a decent amount of goals.”
Bale has scored 14 goals in 35 Real games this term but the Spanish giants have struggled without Cristiano Ronaldo with Zidane recently installed as their third manager of the season following their shock Champions League exit to Ajax.
But Wales’ talisman believes he can have success on the international scene and has tipped Giggs’ side to not only qualify but beat Croatia to top spot in Group E.
We want to win the group
The Croats as well as rivals Slovakia both won their opening games on Thursday night to pile the pressure immediately on the Euro 2016 semi-finalists.
Bale added: “We are going for top spot, I don’t know why we wouldn’t. We are always the underdogs. The bookies aren’t always right.
“We are going to go into this campaign looking to win the group. We know both countries got off to a winning start the other day but there is no reason why we can’t. There’s no reason why we can’t go on and win the group.
“You want to get off to a good start. You don’t want to be playing catch up from the get go so we know it’s a massive game.”
Wales’ record goal scorer has scored twice in three games against the Slovaks, including his thumping free-kick in the Euro 2016 group stage meeting between the sides in Bordeaux.
Bale, who has scored 31 goals in 74 games, said: “I always feel like I fancy a goal. Obviously I have scored against them a few times before but going into the game makes no difference. I am still going to have to try my hardest to score goals to help the team.”
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Arsenal midfield star Ramsey was ruled out yesterday after failing to recover from the thigh injury sustained against Rennes in the Europa League.
Giggs said: “Aaron has gone back to Arsenal and he won’t be available. His injury just didn’t clear up in time so it’s obviously a blow especially the form he has been on and the quality that Aaron has got.
“He’s not made it but that gives a chance to someone else. He gave it a try on Friday but it wasn’t settling down as quick as we thought. It was too short a turnaround.”