London - Wales star Gareth Bale has declared that he believes football can overtake rugby union as the most popular sport in his homeland.
Whereas the Welsh rugby team are one of the world's strongest sides, winning three Six Nations Grand Slams in the past 10 years, the national football team have not reached a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup.
Wales is traditionally seen as a nation of rugby-lovers, but ahead of the football team's key Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Bosnia-Hercegovina on Friday, Bale believes that could be about to change.
"I feel football can overtake rugby soon," the Real Madrid forward told reporters after being named Welsh Footballer of the Year for the fourth time at a ceremony in Cardiff on Monday.
Also read: Bale wins Wales award
"I remember when I was younger, the Millennium Stadium was full every time I went to watch (the Wales football team).
"Rugby has obviously overtaken it in recent years, but I feel football is on the incline and we can get a lot of fans to the games and get the support behind us.
"It's not only important for us as a team to get to a major championship, but as a nation as a whole. We want to inspire more kids to play football and become a better national team."
Bale scored twice to give Wales a narrow 2-1 win away to minnows Andorra in their opening Group B qualifying match last month, while Bosnia surprisingly went down 2-1 at home to Cyprus.