Gareth Bale must learn Spanish to help him settle in at Real Madrid, should he eventually make the move to the La Liga giants, former Los Blancos defender Jonathan Woodgate has said.
The central defender, who spent an injury-hit three year spell in Madrid, told the Daily Mail that learning the language will help Bale feel more at home and is respectful to his team mates.
Despite having a frustrating time at the Santiago Bernabeu in terms of playing matches, Woodgate said his time in Spain was one of the happiest times of his career.
The defender was a hugely popular figure in a dressing room that included the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and David Beckham.
From the start, he made the effort to learn Spanish and took three classes a week. The custom for new signings at Madrid is for the players to make a speech.
David Beckham and Michael Owen made theirs in English, but Woodgate gave a good attempt in Spanish.
He said: “I was nervous giving a speech in Spanish, and it did get a few laughs when I used the wrong phrase but it was all part of the experience.”
He added: “The first thing Gareth has to do is learn the language.
“I made sure I went to Spanish lessons two or three times a week, you have to get in among the players, communicate with them in Spanish – even if you make mistakes. They aren’t bothered – it’ll put a smile on everyones face.”