Gareth Bale has finalized a loan transfer from Spanish champions Real Madrid to former club Tottenham Hotspur as the Welsh striker ended an increasingly hectic seven-year stint at the Bernabeu.
On Friday, the 31-year-old flew to London aboard Spurs president Daniel Levy’s private jet with Real Spain left-back Sergio Reguilon to put the finishing touches on their movements during a seismic day for the Premier League club.
Bale joined Spurs on a season-long loan deal and although financial details of the move were not disclosed, UK media reported Tottenham would pay around £ 20million (25.83 million dollars) in salaries and loan costs.
“It’s such a special club for me. That’s where I made a name for myself, ”Bale said. “Amazing to be back and now I hope I can get back in shape for the game, jump in and really help the team and hopefully win some trophies.”
Spurs said in a statement that Bale, who injured his knee while playing for Wales this month, will likely be fit after the October international break. He will wear jersey number 9.
Tottenham fans, some of whom welcomed Bale on Friday as he was driven to the club’s north London training ground, had to wait for the official announcement on Saturday, but many will be delighted their former hero has joined the club.
Reguilon’s move is permanent after the 23-year-old signed a five-year contract for an estimated € 30m ($ 35.51m) by British media.
It has been seven years since Cardiff-born Bale left Tottenham to join Real Madrid for a then-record € 100million after a dramatic rise.
Signed from Southampton as a promising left-back in 2007, Bale scored 56 goals in 203 appearances, helping Spurs advance to the Champions League for the first time.
Still, Bale initially struggled to make an impact at Tottenham until he eventually blossomed under former manager Harry Redknapp, first as a left forward and then further forward.
He made his mark on the world stage with a sensational hat-trick at Inter Milan in the Champions League in 2010.
In his last season at Tottenham, he scored 21 Premier League goals in 33 games, many of them spectacular.
In 2013 he was voted Premier League player of the season after some fascinating performances for his club.
After his dream transfer to Real Madrid, then led by Carlo Ancelotti, he is part of a star cast, including Cristiano Ronaldo and former Spurs teammate Luka Modric.
He won the first of four Champions League winners’ medals in his debut season with Los Blancos. Bale was also part of two teams that won the La Liga title.
Growing rift in Madrid
But he divided opinions among Madrid club fans and local media who criticized his perceived lack of commitment and injury record, despite a spectacular over-the-head goal in the League final. of the 2018 Champions earned him praise even from critics.
Bale scored 105 goals in 251 appearances for Madrid, but his relationship with French manager Zidane had become difficult and last season he was sidelined.
He suffered his worst season at Real in 2019-20, scoring just three goals in all competitions, and barely featured in their La Liga title race. A catalog of injuries barely helping his cause.
His growing break with Zidane reached a low point when he chose not to travel with the team for a Champions League clash against Manchester City last season.
A move to Tottenham gives him the opportunity to start from scratch and work with manager Jose Mourinho who previously tried to sign him while he was in charge at Madrid.
Mourinho will be hopeful that Bale, with Reguilon’s attacking spirit, will help revive Spurs, who finished sixth last season and started the new Premier League campaign with a 1-0 home loss to Everton. Tottenham have been without a major piece of silverware since 2008.
Bale is set to form a promising line at Spurs with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
While many believe that at 31 his branding pace and power will be degraded, a return to Spurs could give him the platform to start another golden chapter and complete unfinished business with the club that has him. helped him become a superstar.