‘They should be ashamed, it’s disgusting’

Gareth Bale has responded to his critics in Spain and said they should be “ashamed of themselves” after his stunning brace helped Wales past Austria in their World Cup playoff semifinal on Thursday.

Bale produced a wonderful free kick in the first half to open the scoring for Wales before doubling their lead with a close-range effort into the top corner.

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The 32-year-old missed Real Madrid‘s 4-0 defeat against Barcelona in El Clasico through injury on Sunday and was labelled a “parasite” in Spanish newspaper Marca on Thursday after leaving for international duty.

After scoring his goals, Bale celebrated by thumping and kissing the Welsh badge and when asked in a postmatch interview if his celebrations had sent a message, he replied: “I don’t need to say anything, it’s a waste of my time.

“It’s disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves. I am not fussed, end of.”

The 32-year-old has only made five appearances in all competitions for Madrid this season due to injury problems and coach Carlo Ancelotti keeping him on the bench. Bale also hinted that he would produce similar performances in Spain if he enjoyed more minutes on the pitch.

“I can hit a free kick if I am able to play,” he added. “It was nice to see it go in. The early goal gave us that momentum and the second one was nice as well.

“I had some cramp at the end which I guess is normal but l will run into the ground for this country and we all did that tonight.”

Wales teammate Aaron Ramsey also defended Bale after the match and said: “It’s not been easy for him but coming and playing for his country, it means everything to him. You can see that from the way he plays.”

Wales will face either Scotland or Ukraine in the playoff final as they look to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.