Former Saint Bale Joins Real Madrid
2 September 2013, 12:57 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
Real Madrid have confirmed the world-record signing of former Southampton player Gareth Bale, from Tottenham Hotspur.
He passed his medical and was presented to fans at the club's Bernabeu stadium on Monday 2 September.
Bale flew to the Spanish capital after Real ended over two months of speculation, gossip and negotiation on Sunday night (1 September) by announcing they had agreed a deal - thought to be worth a world-record 100million euros (£85.3 million) - with Spurs for the 24-year-old.
Madrid announced on their website:
"Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gareth Bale, who will be contracted to the club for the next six seasons.''
24-year-old Bale thanked Tottenham for making his dream move happen - and Saints for helping him at the start of his career:
"I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it's the right time to say goodbye,'' Bale told Tottenham's website.
"We've had some special times together over the years and I've loved every minute of it.
"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.
"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.
"I am well aware that I would not be at the level I am today were it not for firstly Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times and affording me the environment and support they have."
Bale also tweeted:
"Thanks to both @SouthamptonFC and @SpursOfficial for helping me to reach this point in my career... two very special clubs."
Bale was born on 16 July 1989 in Cardiff. At the age of nine, he was spotted by a Southampton scout while playing at a five-a-side tournament in Wales and invited for a trial.
In 2006, aged 16 years and 275 days, he became the second youngest footballer to play for Southampton in 2-0 Championship win against Millwall, before signing his first professional contract with the club on his 17th birthday that summer. He scored his first goal with a free-kick on the opening day of the season in a 2-2 draw at Derby.
On 25 May 2007 he joined Tottenham. Southampton gave up a sell-on clause when they were in financial troubles, but it's understood they will still get a £2.14 million development fee for their part in his football education, under FIFA rules.