Lineker: Bale's immersion in Spanish culture key to Real success

The 52-year-old has been impressed with the Welshman following his move to Los Blancos and believes he and Ronaldo will be a force to be reckoned with in La Liga this season
Former Barcelona and Tottenham striker Gary Lineker has commended Gareth Bale's decision to immerse himself in the Spanish culture following his world-record move to Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old spoke a sentence in Spanish in his first press conference as a Madrid player, impressing the media and fans alike, and Lineker believes it is crucial for the Wales international to embrace life in Spain away from the pitch and learn the language.

"It makes all the difference. He didn’t just do two or three words, he uttered a whole sentence. He had probably been given a bit of guidance but good for him for having a go and the accent was fine," Lineker told Absolute Radio's Rock 'N' Roll Football.

"It's appreciated...especially in a place like Real Madrid, big clubs like that, where they understand you are immediately making an effort to integrate yourself.

"If there is one thing that he's got to do is learn Spanish - communication is so important and in all sorts of different ways it makes life easier on and off the pitch.

"When I went to Barcelona, I looked at all the players that had been pretty successful abroad, Laurie Cunningham, Ray Wilkins, [David] Platty, Trevor Francis, Steve Archibald – the ones that did really well, where the ones that sort of immersed themselves in the culture and learned the language and I don't think it's any coincidence."

The former England international is confident Bale and new Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo will work well together, and is excited by the Blancos duo going head-to-head with Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar.

"I think they might score a few goals," Lineker continued. "The problem is where they can balance it at the other end but I mean, what a team going forward that will be. Ronaldo is something else. Bale has massive, massive potential; he was unbelievably good last season.

"It might take him a while to adapt, shame he's had one or two niggly injuries going into it, but prodigious talent, so they will certainly be worth watching and then you have got Messi and Naymar at the other place, so not bad."