EURO 2016: Wales star Gareth Bale not interested in Golden Boot race

Wales' Gareth Bale (centre left) with team mates
Wales' Gareth Bale (centre left) with team mates

Gareth Bale says his determination to inspire a Welsh generation is more important to him than winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2016.

Bale heads into Wales’ last-16 tie against Northern Ireland in Paris today as the competition’s joint top scorer with three goals.

The Real Madrid forward became the first player since Ruud van Nistelrooy and Milan Baros at Euro 2004 to score in all three group games.

But Bale insists he is not bothered about individual awards, saying: “It is really not about me in the Golden Boot.

“I have been told that I am joint top goal-scorer, but it is not important to me.

“If we win every game 1-0, we win the title and I don’t score again, then I really couldn’t care less.

“For me it is just about winning whether it is an own goal or someone else scores in our team.

“For other players (finishing top scorer) it might be important, but for me it is not.

“If I happen to get it brilliant, if I don’t it is not going to change me in any way, shape or form.”

Bale’s third goal of the tournament came as Wales brushed aside Russia 3-0 in Toulouse on Monday night to finish above England and win their group.

Chris Coleman’s squad spent the morning of the match watching a documentary charting the story of Welsh football from the nation’s last appearance at a major tournament, the 1958 World Cup.

It struck a chord with a squad who finally managed to get over the qualifying line after so many near misses in the past.

“We have had amazing players going through history,” said Bale. “Seeing the failure, and even being there as fans to see us qualify.”