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Joe Ledley has revealed that Gareth Bale’s new mega-money Real Madrid contract does not protect him from being the butt of jokes among his Wales team-mates.
Bale earned the nickname ‘Tarzan’ after his long hair fell loose during last month’s qualifier against Georgia and the Welsh squad are enjoying ‘hammering’ him for it, said Ledley.
The Crystal Palace midfielder said Bale gives as good as he gets and is unchanged by the millions coming his way at the Bernabeu – insisting the 27-year-old is worthy every penny of his £346,000-per-week deal.
‘He’s just one of the boys, we don’t care who he is, we will still hammer him and he will hammer us,’ said Ledley. ‘If you ask him, he loves meeting up with Wales, and that is the togetherness we have in this squad.
‘You can’t treat anybody different from anybody else. We are all equal. We give him stick for his barnet. We saw when it fell out, we had him a bit for that. He looked like Tarzan!
‘We play golf together and if he duffs one then we are on his back because he’s pretty good at golf. That’s depressing actually, I don’t know what he’s not good at.
‘He deserves every penny and whatever he gets in life. He has proven to be one of the greatest players.
‘There is no jealousy whatsoever. We have known Gareth since he was a boy at Southampton and I haven’t seen any change in him at all.
‘People can change in football and go different ways. He has just stayed on that straight and narrow and remained the same person.’
Bale, within three goals of equalling Ian Rush’s all-time Wales scoring record, will look to close in on the record in Saturday’s crunch World Cup qualifier against Serbia.
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