- Full name Gareth Bale
- Birth date July 16, 1989
- Birth place Cardiff
- Current age 24 years 275 days
- Height 6 ft
Bale made his professional debut for Southampton at the tender age of 16 years and 275 days in a Championship game against Millwall on April 17, 2006. He quickly became one of the hottest prospects in British football and was snapped up for an appearance-related fee of £10 million by Tottenham in May 2007. The promising left-back enjoyed a superb start to his Spurs career with goals against Fulham, Arsenal and Middlesbrough, but he was unable to get a win while on the pitch and went 24 games for Spurs without a victory. An injured foot ruined his debut campaign and limited him to just 12 appearances in the 2007-08 season.
Injury struck again in 2009 when he required knee surgery but Bale returned to the side in September in an attacking role on the left wing to become a key figure as Tottenham qualified for the Champions League for the first time. He also broke his duck when he came on against Burnley, and picked up his first win as a starter against Fulham shortly afterwards.
Bale is Wales' youngest ever international, playing for them against Trinidad and Tobago at just 16 years and 315 days to break Lewin Nyatanga's three-month old record. And he's also his country's youngest ever scorer, having scored against Slovakia on October 7, 2006 with a trademark free-kick.
Strengths: Excellent going forwards, with a goal-scoring touch. He can deliver a great cross on the run and he is also a free-kick specialist.
Weaknesses: Looks so unschooled in the arts of defending that he now plays predominantly as a left winger.
Career high: Two weeks that saw him net a hat-trick in the San Siro that ended in a 4-3 defeat against Inter, before starring in a 3-1 win in the return leg.
Career low: Being labelled a Jonah after 24 games for Spurs without a victory.
Style: Comfortable on the ball, he loves to raid the left flank to provide shots and crosses.
Quotes: "There can't be a better left-sided player anywhere. If he were English he'd be going to the World Cup now, that's for sure. He can play left-back or wide left in midfield, he's six foot and has great a physique. He can run all day, has an unbelievable left foot, has skill and his heading is top-class - he can do everything.'' - Harry Redknapp.
Trivia: Bale played a record 24 Premier League games for Spurs without winning, eventually breaking that run against Burnley on September 26, 2009.
- Arsenal overpaid for Ozil, says former star (Sep 25, 2013)
- Bale sidelined by thigh muscle fatigue (Sep 23, 2013)
- Madrid plan to recoup Bale fee (Sep 3, 2013)
- Bale speaks Spanish at Real Madrid unveiling (Sep 2, 2013)
Media reacts to Bale's move to Madrid (Sep 2, 2013)