MADRID: Gareth Bale’s (pictured) prolonged transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid was finally completed yesterday after the Spanish club officially confirmed the move for an undisclosed fee.
“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 have suggested that the move will make Bale the world’s most expensive player and Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said last week he expected his club to receive a world record fee for the player.
However, Madrid sports daily AS claimed on Friday that Real will pay 91m euros ($121m, £78m), 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 today afternoon after undergoing a medical.
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’ boss Andre Villas-Boas on Wednesday after he refused to attend training last week in a bid to force the move through.
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 £7m 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.
Meanwhile, it is not even immediately clear where Bale fits into the new Real Madrid project under new manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The signings of midfielders Asier Illarramendi and in particular Isco earlier in the transfer window were designed to make Real’s style more closely resemble that of rivals Barcelona with a more patient, possession based build-up.
Ancelotti himself said last week that his idea was “not to play on the counter-attack” in a thinly veiled reference to the rapid counter-attacking style Jose Mourinho employed during his time at the Bernabeu.