Spain, Italy and Germany have edge on Premier League clubs – Gareth Bale

ESPN FC By ESPN staff Share Tweet 47 minutes ago Spain, Italy and Germany have edge on Premier League clubs – Gareth Bale

Zinedine Zidane wants Real to forget about their aggregate lead over Napoli and continue playing intensely in leg two.

Wales forward Gareth Bale believes that the Premier League schedule allows the rest of Europe to have an edge over them in continental competitions.

The former Tottenham Hotspur attacker joined Real Madrid in 2013 for a world record fee and has since notched up 54 goals in 96 appearances, winning two Champions League titles in the process.

Madrid travel to Italy on Tuesday to take on Napoli in the second leg of their round of 16 Champions League match where they hold a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.

While Los Merengues are expected to make it through, the same cannot be said of English teams like Arsenal and Leicester, who lost 5-1 to Bayern Munich and 2-1 to Sevilla in the first leg respectively.

Bale reckons the lack of a winter break and the domestic competition pileup are key reasons as to why English clubs struggle on the continent.

"I think I know why, but you can't change it. It's the league itself. In every Premier League game, you have to be at 100 percent for 90 minutes or you lose," Bale told The Sun.

"Spanish teams definitely know they have this edge over English teams. I think every country does, Spain, Italy, Germany – they all have a winter break.

"Also in Spain, you can be up at half-time against the bottom club and you can take your foot off the gas. You can take people off.

Gareth Bale believes the lack of a winter break leaves Premier League clubs struggling in Europe.

"If you try for only 45 minutes, you won't win a match in the Premier League. Obviously, we still play but it's not at the same 110 percent intensity.

"And the winter break is massive. In England, you'll play four or five games and we don't play any. You don't get many rest days and it really does burn you out for a long time."

While he is adamant that the rest of Europe have an advantage on English clubs, Bale still puts the Premier League as the most competitive of them all.

"In terms of one to 20, the Premier League is the closest. On any given day, 20th can beat top. Here [in Spain], not so much. It's a bigger gap," he added.

"But I feel the top six or seven in Spain are really strong and in European competition, you've obviously got Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico Madrid have been to two finals and Sevilla have won three Europa Leagues.

"The Premier League is by far the most competitive but the teams that always perform in Europe are from Spain."

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