Gareth Bale Profile
|Born||Jul 16, 1989|
Gareth Bale is a Welsh international soccer legend and the one-time most expensive player in the world. He has won the Champions League four times with Real Madrid. Planet Sport looks at his career.
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 Real Madrid's 10th UEFA Champions League title win in 2013/14 and then three in a row from 2015/16 to 2017/18.
After falling out of favour under manager Zinedine Zidane at Los Blancos, Bale re-joined Tottenham on a season-long loan in September 2020.
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 in the league was in vain, as Atletico Madrid won the La Liga title.
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 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.
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 then manager 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.
Bale has scored 33 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 Euro 2016 and scored a total of three goals.
Bale is teetotal and engaged to Emma Rhys-Jones, who he shares three children with. Alba was born on October 21 2012, Nava on March 22 2016 and Alex on May 8 2018.
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 Â£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 footballer 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 £80million paid for the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo. There were repeated rumours of friction between Ronaldo and Bale at Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale News
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