…Signs six-year deal with Real Madrid
Gareth Bale’s prolonged transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid was finally completed for an unconfirmed world record fee on Sunday after the Spanish club officially announced the move.
“Real Madrid and Tottenham have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gareth Bale,” confirmed a statement on the club’s website.
“The player will be tied to the club for the next six seasons.”
Widespread reports in England have suggested that the move will make Bale the world’s most expensive player with Real set to pay 101 million euros ($133.5 million, £86 million) for his services.
However, media in Spain insisted on Sunday that Real will only pay 91 million euros, three million less than Los Blancos paid for Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009.
Bale will be presented to the media and the club’s fans on Monday afternoon after undergoing a medical.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Club, the Chairman, Board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity,” Bale said in a statement on the Spurs website.
“I am not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career to date. I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams, but I can honestly say, this is my dream come true.
“Tottenham will always be in my heart and I’m sure that this season will be a successful one for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid.”
The Welshman was coveted by the Spanish giants following a series of amazing performances for Tottenham last season that landed him both the Premier League players and football writers’ player of the year.
Bale scored 21 goals in 33 Premier League appearances, but his efforts still weren’t enough to lift Spurs into the Champions League as they were edged out of fourth place by just one point by North London rivals Arsenal.
And the chance to not only play with some of the best players in the world, but also in Europe’s premier club competition was a significant factor as the 24-year-old made his desire to move to Madrid clear.
Bale was criticised by Spurs’ coach Andre Villas-Boas on Wednesday after he refused to attend training last week in a bid to force the move through.
“Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future. He is a player whose career we have fostered and developed and he was only a year into his new four-year contract,” Spurs chairman Daniel Levy told the club’s website.
“Such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth’s desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.”
Indeed Bale hasn’t played at all since Spurs’ pre-season friendly against Swindon Town on July 16 as he first complained first of a gluteal injury and then a foot problem which kept him out of the English side’s impressive start to their league campaign.
However, he has still been called up by Chris Coleman for Wales’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia.
The deal lands Spurs an incredible profit on a player they bought for just £7 million six years ago from Southampton.
And with his departure having been expected for a number of weeks, Villas-Boas has set about significantly strengthening his squad with the signings of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches and Cristian Erisken to take the club’s spending for the summer to over £100m.
After a difficult spell following his move from Southampton, Bale didn’t begin to truly shine with Spurs until he was moved from left-back into a more advanced position on the left during the 2009/2010 season.
The following year he shot to prominence by scoring a hat-trick against then European champions Inter Milan at the San Siro and helped guide Spurs to the quarter-finals in their first ever participation in the competition before they were eventually hammered 5-0 on aggregate by his new employers.