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Bale given warm welcome at Real

ESPN staff
September 12, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Gareth Bale received a warm welcome from his team-mates on his first day at Real Madrid

Gareth Bale's first full day as a Real Madrid player has been painstakingly chronicled in the Spanish sports media after being carefully stage-managed by his new club.

'Bienvenido Mr Bale' said AS on Thursday morning [Welcome, Mr Bale], over what looks set to become an iconic photo of the £86 million signing and his new team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo clasping hands when they met.

'A debut impossible to forget'

Jonathan Woodgate scored an own goal and was sent off on his Bernabeu bow © Getty Images
  • With Gareth Bale set to make his first appearance for Real Madrid on Saturday after his £86 million move from Tottenham, we look back at another player who swapped the Premier League for La Liga.
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Marca's front page had Bale going straight to Carlo Ancelotti's office to tell his new boss "I want to get going now!"

Inside both papers had detailed run-downs of Bale's Wednesday, with him entering his hotel at 13:30, meeting Ronaldo in the Valdebebas car park at 15:30, training at 17:00, and having dinner later in the evening at a restaurant popular with his new team-mates.

With Bale having only made his first competitive appearance of the season as a substitute this week for Wales, AS wrote that Madrid's fitness coach Giovanni Mauri has designed a special fitness regime to get him match fit as quickly as possible. While the serious part of the training session took place behind closed-doors, Marca's reporter claimed that Bale warmed-up separately at his own rhythm, but then joined in fitness and ball work with the rest of the squad, while sticking close to his good mate from Tottenham, Luka Modric.

Bale's new friend Sergio Ramos later tweeted his own welcome as all at the club apparently looked to make the latest addition to the Madrid squad as comfortable as possible in his new surroundings.

Madrid gave further details of Bale's first day at Valdebebas in a statement on their website on Wednesday evening.

"Gareth Bale arrived at the Ciudad Real Madrid facilities to complete his first training session with the Whites," the statement said. "Bale met the Real Madrid coaching staff as well as his new team-mates; the first to welcome Real's newest player was Cristiano Ronaldo. The two strikers chatted on the way to the first team's dressing room, where Bale joined the rest of Carlo Ancelotti's team. Once inside, a smiling Bale met the coaching staff and Carlo Ancelotti introduced the Welsh player to assistant coaches [Zinedine] Zidane and [Paul] Clement. The two welcomed the striker and after discussing the player's first impressions Bale entered the dressing room, where he met his new team-mates and changed for his first training session with the Whites."

Bale looks set to be included in Ancelotti's squad for Saturday evening's game at Villarreal, although he is unlikely to go straight into the Madrid starting XI given his current lack of match-fitness.

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