Bale has scored nine goals in 20 appearances during an injury-hit season for Real Madrid
He has done it twice in three years at Real Madrid and is aiming to complete a hat-trick this season when the final will be in his native Cardiff.
English clubs are toiling, meanwhile, unable to make the same impact and Bale fears this trend will continue as long as the Premier League has such competitive depth and resists a mid-season break.
Bale trains with Real team-mate Ronaldo – the pair have always got on well according to Bale
The Wales forward is preparing for the Spanish side’s Champions League clash with Napoli
It has been a long five years since Chelsea won it in Munich.
This season, Tottenham exited in the group stage, Arsenal are 5-1 down to Bayern Munich before Tuesday night’s second leg and Leicester trail Sevilla in the last 16. ‘I think I know why, but you can’t change it,’ said Bale.
‘It’s the league itself. Every game in the Premier League you have to be at 100 per cent for 90 minutes or you will lose.
‘In Spain, you can be up at half-time against the bottom club and take your foot off the gas. You can rest players and take people off. If you try for 45 minutes you won’t win a match in the Premier League.
‘And, obviously, 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 after that.’
Bale in training before Madrid’s Champions League last-16 second leg clash away in Italy
At Real, a midwinter break is followed by a fitness blast when the players return.
‘I don’t do anything,’ said Bale. ‘We have seven, eight, nine days off. I go back to Wales and see my family and friends. On one or two days, I’ll go to the gym or go for a run to keep ticking over.
‘It’s basically just rest. We come back and have a week of double sessions to get back up to speed.
‘If you have seven or 10 days off when you’re not even in the country, you’re where you want to be, you’re not thinking about football or thinking about training in a couple of days.
‘It’s nice to really get away from it mentally as well as physically. Spanish teams definitely know they have this edge over the English. Every country does: Spain, Italy, Germany, they all have the winter break.’
Arsenal were thrashed 5-1 at Bayern Munich in their Champions League last-16 first leg
Bale’s former team, Tottenham, were knocked out of the Champions League in group stage
Bale and Real Madrid have been good for each other, a perfect fit. He helped them be European champions once again.
They transformed him into a confident, superstar footballer, at ease with his status, more mature and multi-skilled than when he left Tottenham in 2013.
‘It’s more technical here, not so end to end or 100mph,’ said Bale, a BT Sport ambassador.
‘You have to keep the ball and pick your opportunities and decide when to go forward. I feel I’m better in smaller spaces.
‘When that space isn’t there you have to play and move. I’m learning all that. I feel as if I’ve improved so much since I left.’
Pressure comes with the territory. ‘There are moments where you feel you have to do things, where people expect,’ said Bale.
The Welshman has won the Champions League twice in three years since joining Real Madrid
Bale has scored nine goals in 20 appearances during an injury-hit season for Real Madrid
‘Real Madrid fans know they spent a lot of money and they will expect performances, expect big things. They pay big money for big moments. It was great for me to score the winner in the Champions League final. Especially in the way I did. Or the one more recently, stepping up and taking a penalty.
‘There are moments in football which make you a better player and get you to the next level.’
Bale’s first key contribution in a Real shirt was the winner against Barcelona in the 85th minute of the Copa del Rey final in 2014.
Followed by the big one: his back-post header in extra-time in the Champions League final, to put Real 2-1 up against Atletico Madrid. They went on to win 4-1 and clinch the elusive 10th European title, La Decima.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the Champions League record assist leader against Napoli
‘It is hard to get the memories back,’ said Bale. ‘It’s quite a blur. It’s your first Champions League final, you’re excited and emotions are running high.
‘I remember certain points in the match and the celebrations after but in the second final I was able to relax as I’d been in the situation before and was able to enjoy it a bit more.’
Last year, in the final in Milan, he scored in the penalty shootout. Atletico were again on the receiving end. Zinedine Zidane was in charge of Real and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive penalty. Iconic figures are part of the workforce at the Bernabeu.
Zidane is a ‘relaxed’ and ‘calming influence’ on a wavelength with his players, according to Bale. ‘He knows the psychology of football. He played at the top level, he was the best player for years.’
Bale scored in the Champions League final in 2014 against Atletico Madrid which finished 4-1
And Ronaldo? ‘We’ve always got on well,’ said Bale. ‘We’ve scored a lot of goals, given each other a lot of assists and won two Champions Leagues. So it hasn’t gone too bad.
‘He’s changed his game slightly. At Manchester United you’d see him running from deep. He’s more of a striker. He’s very effective in the box, scoring goals, making assists. As you get older, even I’m starting to change my game a little bit. He knows what he’s doing and he’s doing it very well.
‘We go out as a team now and again for food and do team bonding. Most players keep themselves to themselves and have their own things they like to do. Mine’s usually golf.’
After the thrills of Euro 2016 with Wales, he and close friends from his school days went for a holiday in Scotland, playing at St Andrews and Gleneagles. From the outset, the Wales striker was determined not to be another British footballer who failed to adjust to life abroad.
Karim Benzema, Ronaldo and Bale form a formidable front trio for Madrid
He quizzed David Beckham and Steve McManaman about their time at Real Madrid and researched others who did not last so long. ‘I read about Mark Hughes saying he was already thinking about going home when he came over to Barcelona,’ said Bale. ‘Michael Owen said he didn’t settle off the pitch.
‘I tried not to make those mistakes. I thought I could do better.
‘My mindset was to try and be here for as long as I could. I was young enough. I thought it was a good time. I wanted to learn more about my game. I felt like I’d proved myself in the Premier League and when Real Madrid come calling, the biggest club in the world, you can’t say no.
‘It’s one of those experiences you need to grab with both hands. I think it was the right decision, with two Champions Leagues in the cabinet.
Bale celebrates scoring against Manchester City in last season’s Champions League semi-final
Madrid’s Portuguese defender Pepe embraces Bale as the pair train before the Napoli game
‘It is great for my family. The weather’s nice. We joke but it does help with the aches and pains.’
Bale’s new contract last season ties him to Real until 2022, ending hopes of those clubs keen to tempt him back to the Premier League.
‘I’m just enjoying the life here,’ said the 27-year-old. ‘I’ve signed a long-term contract because I feel it’s the right place for me to go forward and to win trophies. Last season was the most comfortable and I felt like I could be here for a long time.’
As for the language, he’s working on it. ‘I haven’t got it cracked by any means,’ he said.
Bale also won the Champions League in 2016, with Madrid beating Atletico in the final again
‘I can get by. I understand most of what’s going on. I speak to the manager in Spanish and the meetings are in Spanish.
‘A lot of people speak English around the club, which is helpful. But I try to communicate with the players in Spanish, maybe not in great detail but we have jokes and banter like you do in any normal dressing room. When I’m at home I try to speak it. My daughter is learning Spanish.’
This season started fluently for Bale until an injury required surgery to repair ankle tendons.
After three months out, he returned with goals against Espanyol and Villarreal and a red card against Las Palmas. He was banned for two domestic games but can play on Tuesday night at Napoli, in the Champions League, with Real 3-1 up from the first leg as they attempt to be the first team in the modern era to defend the trophy.
Bale asked former England captain David Beckham for advice on life at Real Madrid
Michael Owen failed to adapt to life in Spain and never settled during his time at Real Madrid
‘It is not impossible,’ said Bale. ‘It’s difficult but we are in a great position. We are up in the Napoli game. We are under no illusions but we have the right mentality at the moment.
‘We’re known for winning the Champions League. We have won it the most, 11 times. The goal is to win the Champions League at the end of the year.’
It always is at Real Madrid.