GARETH BALE hit his century but now he wants another celebration by reaching the 2022 World Cup.
The Real Madrid superstar received a piece of Welsh slate as his 100th cap gift from the Football Association of Wales after Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of Belarus.
Gareth Bale hit his century but now he wants another celebration by reaching the 2022 World Cup[/caption]
Bale’s motivational own words from Euro 2016, ‘It’s the Dragon on my shirt.
That’s all I need’ were engraved on the present as he became the second Welshman behind Chris Gunter to reach a ton of appearances.
Wales, who have already booked a play-off spot, will secure second spot above Czech Republic and a possible home semi-final draw with a draw over Belgium in tomorrow’s Cardiff Group E qualifier.
Bale, 32, delivered a rousing speech to his team-mates and said: “This country is special.
“No one is prouder than us to play for Wales and to get to 100 caps is a special moment for me.
“I’m sure more of you in the future will do it. Obviously, Wayne (Hennessey) is close and I hope he does that.
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“But thanks to everyone. All the staff that put all the hard work since I have been here from day one and made me feel welcomed and loved.
“Every player has been part of my journey. I’ve loved playing with all of you and I just want to say thank you to everyone for making this possible.
“Hopefully now we can celebrate even more by trying to qualify for the World Cup.”
The Wales captain received a warm welcome with his team-mates singing, ‘Baleo’ as he was presented with his gift by boss Robert Page.
Bale, back after two months out with a hamstring injury, allayed fears over a fitness worry when he was substituted at half-time and claimed afterwards his withdrawal was a pre-planned call.
Hopefully now we can celebrate even more by trying to qualify for the World Cup.
Gareth Bale after his 100th Wales cap
Meanwhile, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has warned Wales there will be no let up despite qualifying for Qatar.
The Red Devils – ranked No1 in the world – are without Romelu Lukaku, Youri Tielemans and Toby Alderweireld for the trip to the Welsh capital.
Real keeper Thibaut Courtois is also expected to miss the final group tie but Martinez, who had a management spell in Wales at Swansea, insists it is not a dead rubber for his side.
Martinez said: “We will go to Wales on Tuesday to win. We have that responsibility, because Wales is still fighting for the play-offs.”
On Courtois, Martinez stated the ex-Chelsea stopper had only taken part in one training session before the 3-1 win over Estonia on Saturday.
The former Everton and Wigan chief added: “He is not injured, but we have to be careful with his busy schedule.”