Gareth Bale has said he gets "more excitement" playing for Wales than he does for Real Madrid, although he added he contributes as much as possible regardless of who he's representing.
The winger has recovered fitness in time for Wales' UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Hungary, leading to some criticism in Spain following his recent injury absence.
Bale has said he's more at ease playing with familiar faces in the Wales squad, even though the average profile of star is substantially lower than at the Bernabeu, per BBC Sport's Dafydd Pritchard:
"With Wales, I'm speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable. I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales.
"I've been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It's like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.
"But it still doesn't change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100 per cent wherever I am, and that's what I always strive to do."
Bale, 30, has endured negative press from the Spanish media since his arrival at Real in 2013. Marca's front page even dubbed his return to training as "A Miracle in Wales" because injury has prevented him from featuring for Los Blancos since October 5.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane explained prior to the international break that while Bale and team-mate James Rodriguez were not deemed match fit, that doesn't mean they're injured, per Agence France-Presse's Tom Allnutt:
Bale continued to say he laughs off a lot of the criticism he receives in the Spanish media, adding it's a matter of timing that he's fit to represent Wales before Real following his injury:
"I've tried to get back [to fitness] as quick as I can. If there had been a Real Madrid game this week, I would've been fit and training to play.
"Maybe to them [the Spanish media] it doesn't look great, but it's just a kind of coincidence that the national team comes around this week and I've returned to full training.
"If I'm fit, no matter where I am, I'm going to try and play, whether it be for Wales or Madrid. For me it was a no-brainer: if I'm fit to play then I'll give it my all."
Bale regained his place in Zidane's Real plans following a summer filled with uncertainty, scoring twice and recording one assist in his first three league appearances of the campaign.
However, his status at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu pales in comparison to the respect he holds in Ryan Giggs' squad. Bale has scored 33 times in 79 appearances for his country, is Wales' all-time leading scorer and spearheaded their charge to the UEFA Euro 2016 semi-finals, where they lost 2-0 to champions Portugal.
His record of 104 goals and 67 assists in 238 appearances for Real is nothing to be sniffed at, either.
Sky Sports Statto recently highlighted Real as the team for whom Bale has scored more goals than any other during his career by a wide margin:
Wales travel to the Bakcell Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Saturday before they make a swift return to the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday, when they'll host Hungary in what looks to be a must-win match.
The Mirror's James Nursey noted Saturday's fixture is expected to be the first match in which Bale will start alongside fellow veteran Aaron Ramsey since Giggs took charge:
Zidane lost winger Marco Asensio to a serious knee injury during pre-season, but youngsters Vinicius Jr, 19, and Rodrygo Goes, 18, have stepped up to complement summer-signing Eden Hazard.
Wales sit fourth in Euro 2020 qualifying Group E—four points outside the top two with two matches remaining—and they're in need of a win in Baku to boost their chances of securing a spot.