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Glad to be back

Gareth Bale was delighted to be back and part of the action as we toppled AC Milan in the Champions League.

Gareth Bale was delighted to be back and part of the action as we toppled AC Milan in the Champions League.

The Welsh star entered the fray as a 66th-minute substitute in the Champions League last 16, second leg at the Lane on Wednesday night.

But there was little opportunity for Gareth to take off on his trademark runs down the left flank that did so much damage against AC’s rivals Inter in the group stages.

Instead, the concentration was very much on the defensive side of the game as the visitors enjoyed long spells of possession.

But they couldn’t find that elusive goal and a 0-0 draw was enough to win the tie 1-0 on aggregate and take us into the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite competition.

Gareth returned from a six-week injury absence with a 20-minute stint at Wolves on Sunday before playing his part against Milan.

“It’s great to be back,” beamed Gareth. “I had my first taste of action at Wolves and to get on the pitch again was great for me personally and great for the lads to get through to the quarter-finals. It’s a fantastic achievement.

“We’ve had a great run in the Champions League and we want to keep it going.

“It’s a massive competition, the biggest stage in club football and everyone wants to be part of it to prove themselves against the best and try to become a better player.”

Gareth admitted he hadn’t really given too much thought to possible opponents in the last eight.

We’re through with Barcelona, Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Schalke with the final four last 16 ties decided on Tuesday and Wednesday. The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals is this Friday, March 18, at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, 11am UK time.

“We’re happy to be where we are, we deserve to be where we are and whoever we get, we’ll give 100 per cent,” added Gareth. “We won’t get carried away with ourselves and we’ll take it one step at a time.

“It’s been a fantastic season for us. I had a good start to the season personally, injury has set me back a bit but I’m raring to go now and I’ll give 100 per cent for the team.”