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Real Madrid confirm Bale signing

ESPN staff
September 1, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
ESPN FC: Gareth Bale signs for Real Madrid


Real Madrid have finally completed the long-protracted signing of Gareth Bale after paying Tottenham a world record fee - believed to be £86 million - for his services.

Bale, 24, had been a target for Madrid all summer and Los Blancos eventually managed to convince Spurs to sell after agreeing a fee that, if confirmed by Madrid, beats the previous record of £80m they set when buying Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009.

He has signed a six-year deal with Madrid and will be presented to the media at a press conference scheduled for 12pm BST on Monday.

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With Ronaldo and Bale now in tandem at the Bernabeu, Madrid boast two of the most exciting talents in world football as they look to regain the Primera Division title from Barcelona and lift La Decima - their tenth European Cup.

After establishing himself as the fulcrum of the Tottenham team in recent years, the Wales winger had become one of the most coveted players in the game.

Bale's impressive displays for Spurs earned him PFA Footballer of the Year awards in 2011 and 2013, with his final season at White Hart Lane yielding 21 goals in 34 Premier League games.

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas stated throughout the summer that it was his intention to keep Bale at the club, but with the player's heart set on a switch to Madrid, the Portuguese turned his attention to strengthening his squad.

Spurs signed Nacer Chadli, Paulinho and Roberto Soldado over the summer, while Erik Lamela has also joined from Roma and Christian Erkisen from Ajax this week.

Bale becomes Madrid's fifth summer signing, following Asier Illarramendi, Isco, Daniel Carvajal and Casemiro in moving to the Bernabeu.

He is the first British player to sign for Real Madrid since Jonathan Woodgate nine years ago and the first ever Welshman to play for the club.

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas pre-empted the announcement, saying: "The player is a wonderful player - he is going to join Real Madrid," he said. "He leaves us with great memories from last season, and we wish him all the best."

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy told the club's official website: "Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future. He is a player whose career we have fostered and developed and he was only a year into his new four year contract.

"Such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth's desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.

"We have, therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to this sale and do so in the knowledge that we have an exceptionally strong squad to which we have added no fewer than seven top internationals. More importantly, we have an immense team spirit and a dressing room that is hungry for success.

"We wish Gareth all the best in the future and he shall always be welcome at the Lane."

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