Gareth Bale Profile
|Born||Jul 16, 1989|
Gareth Bale is a superstar of the Wales national team and, with five Champions League titles under his belt, one of the most decorated players in world football.
Bale began his career at Southampton before joining Tottenham in 2007. After converting from a left-back to left winger, he became arguably the most fearsome in his position in the Premier League.
Bale signed for Real Madrid in 2013 for a then reported world record fee of £85.3million. He enjoyed tremendous success during his time at the Bernabeu, playing his part in five Champions League-winning seasons.
However, after falling out of favour at Madrid, Bale departed the Spanish club in 2022 following their Champions League win over Liverpool.
Bale joined Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer in June 2022 and helped the club win their first ever MLS Cup title.
During his career he has won numerous trophies including five Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, a Copa Del Rey and the MLS Cup. He has also been named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice.
He has been the Wales international talisman for over 15 years, leading them to two European Championship tournaments and their first World Cup since 1958.
During the 2022 World Cup defeat to England, the 33-year-old made a record 111th Wales appearance. He is also the country's all-time leading scorer.
Joining Los Blancos
At the start of September 2013, Bale joined Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid on a six-year contract for a then world record fee of £85.3million.
During the 2013/14 season, Bale scored 15 goals and contributed 13 assists in 27 La Liga appearances. However, this impressive debut season was unable to deliver the La Liga title, as Real finished three points behind champions Atletico Madrid despite having scored 27 goals more.
Nevertheless, Bale scored a crucial goal in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, which Real Madrid won 2-1, and a vital goal in the 4-1 UEFA Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid.
A 10th European crown for Real Madrid meant that they had finally achieved La Decima, becoming the first club to win the tournament 10 times.
The following season saw Real Madrid play second fiddle to Barcelona, who won the treble, but Bale managed to score 13 goals and provide nine assists in La Liga.
The 2015/16 season was Bale's most prolific at Real Madrid as he picked up 19 goals and 11 assists in 23 La Liga appearances. Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League again as they beat Atletico Madrid 5-3 on penalties in the final following a 1-1 draw.
In 2016/17, Real Madrid won both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, but Bale's season was blighted by persistent injury problems. Nevertheless, he played a part in Real Madrid's success.
In 2017/18, Bale scored 16 goals in La Liga and picked up a brace and the man-of-the-match award in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League final over Liverpool.
The next campaign got off to a difficult start for Real Madrid, and having initially left the club after the third consecutive Champions League victory, Zidane returned as manager in March 2019. This was when Bale's Real Madrid career began to decline.
The 2019/20 season saw Bale often overlooked by Zidane and he made his displeasure clear.
In 2019, he was criticised for holding up a sign saying: 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order'. This, in the eyes of some, was a sign of a lack of commitment to his club.
Jose Mourinho, who didn't want to sign Bale during his time as Real Madrid manager, brought the Welshman back to Tottenham Hotspur on loan as the 2019/20 season kicked off.
After a season back in north London, Bale returned to Madrid but continued to see his game time limited under Carlo Ancelotti.
However, the Welshman did scoop a fifth Champions League title in the 2021/22 season, with Madrid beating Liverpool 1-0 in the final, even though he did not play in the match.
Bale ended in nine-year spell in Madrid in summer 2022, joining Los Angeles FC in the MLS on a free transfer.
He played 258 games for the Spanish champions, scoring 106 goals and claiming 67 assists. He won three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA World Club Cups and five Champions League trophies.
The Tottenham love affair
Bale joined Tottenham Hotspur from Southampton in 2007, but struggled to make an impact until August 2008 following a long-term injury.
His breakthrough season came in 2009/10 as Spurs enjoyed a successful Premier League campaign, finishing in fourth place under Harry Redknapp.
In 2010/11, Bale starred in Tottenham's UEFA Champions League campaign. Inter Milan were European champions at the time, but Bale received plenty of attention for a dominant performance against the Nerazzurri and their star right-back, Maicon.
Spurs made the quarter-finals of the tournament, where they were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Real Madrid.
The 2011/12 season was Redknapp's last in charge of Tottenham and Bale picked up 10 goals and 14 assists in the Premier League. Spurs finished fourth in the league again, but this time failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as a result of Chelsea winning the tournament.
In 2012/13, under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, Bale had his most prolific season for Tottenham, scoring 21 Premier League goals and picking up nine assists en route to the PFA Players' Player of the Year award.
Spurs finished fifth in the Premier League and Bale departed for Real Madrid.
After rejoining Tottenham on loan, Bale has played a bit-part role in the early stages of the 2020/21 season.
Mourinho's departure and a caretaker spell for Ryan Mason resulted in Bale getting more game-time towards the end of the campaign. Bale featured in the final six games of the season, scoring six times, including a hat-trick against Sheffield United.
After falling out of favour at Real Madrid, Bale packed his bags and moved to the MLS with LAFC, when many had expected him to return to the UK with his hometown club Cardiff.
Bale arrived in June midway through the MLS season and only managed to make 12 appearances, the majority off the bench.
However, Bale had the desired impact in the final of the MLS Cup against Philadelphia Union when coming on as a sub again he headed home a 128th minute equaliser to take the game to penalties, which LAFC went on to win.
Bale has scored 41 goals for the Welsh national team, making him their record all-time goalscorer. He surpassed Ian Rush's record of 28 with a hat-trick against China on March 22, 2018.
Euro 2016 saw Wales embark on a remarkable run to the semi-finals of the tournament, where they were beaten 2-0 by eventual champions Portugal in France.
Bale played six matches for Wales at the tournament, scoring three times.
He was again an integral part of the Wales team for Euro 2020. However, after again coming through the group stage, Wales crashed out in the round of 16 after a 4-0 defeat to Denmark.
Bale also played a major part in Wales' World Cup qualification. In 2022, Bale's deflected free-kick helped Wales to a win over Ukraine in the play-off final, sending the nation to their first World Cup in over 40 years.
Wales joined Group B of the World Cup, alongside England, Iran and the United States.
In Wales' opening game, Bale proved to be the saviour once again as their first match at a World Cup for 64 years ended in a 1-1 draw against the United States.
Bale equalised eight minutes from the end, converting his 41st Wales goal from the penalty spot after Tim Ream went right through the back of him.
It was Wales' first goal at a World Cup since Terry Medwin scored against Hungary in 1958.
That was the best it got for Wales and Bale at the tournament as they lost 2-0 to Iran and 3-0 to England in the following group games.
"We didn't live up to our expectations at this tournament," Bale said after the exit. "If you'd told us two years ago that we would play in a World Cup, we'd have all pinched ourselves.
"It's been difficult at this tournament, we haven't played very well. But we've given everything and we won't have any regrets."
Teetotal Bale is married to Emma Rhys-Jones, who he shares four children with. Alba was born on October 21, 2012, Nava on March 22, 2016, Axel on May 8, 2018 and Xander on July 7, 2021.
Bale's fluency in Spanish came under scrutiny during his time at Real Madrid, and there are contrasting opinions about precisely how much of the language he can speak.
In November 2014, Bale was part of FIFA's "11 against Ebola" campaign. He and other top players around the world joined forces to raise awareness regarding the Ebola crisis at the time.
Closer to home for him, Bale gave £15,000 for Christmas Hampers in Swansea, Wales, in October 2020.
Bale is famous for his professional relationship with agent Jonathan Barnett, who was also the agent of Ashley Cole during his time at Chelsea and Arsenal.
Bale is also a keen golfer with a handicap of 3 or 4. He has a replica of the 17th hole at TPC at Sawgrass in his back garden.
Forbes lists Bale as the eighth highest paid soccer player in the world in 2020. His $23million salary is said to be supplemented by $6million in endorsements from the likes of Adidas, EA Sports and Lucozade.
When Real Madrid signed Bale in 2013, he reportedly surpassed the £80m paid for the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo. There were repeated rumours of friction between Ronaldo and Bale at Real Madrid.
In September 2021, Forbes announced that Bale will earn the ninth most money in world soccer. He will earn $32million including a $26million contract from Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale News
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