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Gareth Bale defends form after Euro exit

Madrid: Gareth Bale sounded a defiant tone regarding his own form after missing a string of chances in Real Madrid's aggregate defeat to Juventus in the Champions League semi-final.

Gareth Bale. Pic/AFP
Gareth Bale. Pic/AFP

Bale has come in for repeated criticism in Spain and the boo-boys were out again in the second half of Wednesday's 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital as Bale missed several opportunities.

The result saw Madrid's defence of their European crowd end with a 3-2 aggregate defeat but, while disappointed, Bale defended his own role.

"There have been some ups and downs but personally I think I've played well," he told Sky Sports of his season. "I've maybe not scored as many important chances as I'd like but my general play has been good. My finishing is not as good and that's something to work on for next year.

"What doesn't kill me makes me stronger and I'll learn from this season and take it on."

Bale had Madrid's first chance of the night, heading over after just 35 seconds, and then nearly half a dozen in the second half but never once managed to test Gianluigi Buffon with a shot on target.

"I was unlucky not to grab one," he said. "As long as I keep trying, usually one goes in. Unfortunately it didn't happen tonight and you move on."

His best chance was a back-post header which he sent over from point-blank range.

"I got a slight touch (in the back) and I couldn't get over the ball," he said. "It's one of those things that happen in football and you move on."

Madrid took the lead on the night - and on away goals - when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a first-half penalty, and continued to dominate, only to see Juve snatch an equaliser against the run of play through former Madrid player Alvaro Morata in the second half.

"We wanted to be in the Champions League final, we gave ourselves a chance of winning but it's not to be and we go again next year," Bale said.

"I think we always try to score as many as we can. It wasn't meant to be tonight but we played a good game."

The defeat all but ends Madrid's season as they sit four points behind Barcelona with two games left in the league.

"It's obviously disappointing and not what we wanted but we've still got a chance to win the league and we'll keep fighting until it's mathematically impossible," Bale said. "That's all we can do."

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