Gareth Bale has signed for Spanish club Real Madrid
Bale leaves from English Premier League Tottenham Hotspur
Bale will be unveiled Monday afternoon at Real Madrid's stadium
The fee wasn't disclosed but some British outlets say it's a world record
Spanish football club Real Madrid completed the signing of Gareth Bale from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur Sunday, to end weeks of speculation over one of the off-season’s most anticipated transfer deals.
Bale joins the La Liga giants for six seasons, Real said on its website, and he will be unveiled at Real’s Bernabeu Stadium Monday at 1 p.m. local time.
Neither club has disclosed the value of the deal but British media outlets Sky Sports and the BBC reported it was a world-record move worth $132 million that was greater than the $124 million fee Real Madrid produced to lure Cristiano Ronaldo away from Manchester United in 2009.
According to a pair of Spanish newspapers, though, Bale’s switch wasn’t a world record. El Pais put the transfer value at about $120 million on Sunday, just as AS did earlier in the weekend.
Whatever the amount, Bale was thrilled while thanking Spurs for some “special times.”
“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,” Bale told Tottenham’s website. “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.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club had no intention of selling Bale but the “attention” from Real Madrid and the player’s own wishes ultimately took precedence.
Likely in anticipation of Bale’s departure – and the money on the way – Tottenham had signed seven players this summer.
“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,” Levy told Tottenham’s website.
“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.”
The 24-year-old Welsh international has twice been named the Footballer of the Year in England for his outstanding performances for Tottenham, most recently in the 2012-13 season where he scored 26 goals in 44 appearances.
But this was not enough to lift the London club into the European Champions League after they finished fifth in the EPL. Speculation about Bale’s future reached fever pitch during over the transfer window that followed.
Bale, an attacking player who is normally deployed in a wide position, joined Tottenham from his first club Southampton in 2007.
He has made 41 appearances for his country since his debut in 2006, scoring 11 goals.
“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 said.
“Tottenham will always be in my heart and I’m sure that this season will be a successful one for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid.”
If the British reports about Bale’s fee are correct, it would mark the latest occasion that Real have broken the world transfer record, dating back to the signing of Portugal’s Luis Figo from arch rivals Barcelona in 2000.
The record was again broken when French World Cup star Zinedine Zidane signed from Serie A Juventus in 2001.
The $82.58 million fee remained the record until Los Blancos broke it twice in 2009, first acquiring Brazil’s Kaka from Milan and then Ronaldo, who remains a key figure at the Bernabeu.
New manager Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping the attacking combination of Bale and Ronaldo will herald a new era of domination for a club who have won the European Champions League, formerly European Cup, a record nine times, but not since 2002.
Real, then managed by Jose Mourinho, had to play second fiddle in La Liga last season to Barcelona and were beaten in the semifinals of the Champions League by Borussia Dortmund.
Bale didn’t play in Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.