Bale must learn Spanish to succeed at Madrid - Ian Rush

The Liverpool legend, who had to adapt to Italian culture when he joined Juventus from the Reds, has told his fellow countryman that settling in off the pitch will be crucial
Ian Rush has urged Gareth Bale to learn Spanish if he is to succeed at Real Madrid following his world-record move to the Liga outfit.

The former Wales international, who has experience of high-profile moves abroad after he swapped Merseyside for Juventus in 1987, believes the 24-year-old must embrace the Spanish culture and language.

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“The most important thing about making the move abroad is being happy off the pitch. If you’re not happy off the pitch, you won’t perform on it,” Rush told the Daily Mirror.

“Also you have to learn the language. That will definitely be needed. It took me six months to learn that.

“When you’re a player you think that the football is all that matters. But small things like not knowing the language do affect your performance on the pitch.”

Ahead of Bale’s potential debut against Villarreal, Rush believes there are question marks over the former Tottenham man's fitness after he missed much of Spurs' pre-season campaign.

“The bigger issue for Gareth on the pitch is his fitness,” Rush added.

“He hasn’t played for a bit and you do need at least four games to get match fitness. You can make mistakes playing for Wales and get away with it. You won’t get away with it playing for Madrid.”