MADRID: The deal is done: Real Madrid have presented Gareth Bale as their latest Galactico before around 15,000 fans in the Estadio Bernabeu after completing the £85m world record transfer.
The former Tottenham star agreed a six-year contract worth £300,000-a-week, passed a medical and told his new fans, in Spanish: “It’s a dream for me to play at Real Madrid.”
The record nine-times European champions had set up the signing celebration in a statement on Sunday evening which read: “Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gareth Bale, who will be contracted to the club for the next six seasons.”
The news came shortly after Spurs had confirmed they had reached an agreement with Real over the sale of the Welshman. The deal is subject to Bale passing a medical. The 24-year-old will then be presented as their new player at the Estadio Bernabeu.
The fee surpasses the £80m Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
In a statement posted on Tottenham’s official website, Bale said: “I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it’s the right time to say goodbye. We’ve had some special times together over the years and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I would like to thank everyone at the club, the chairman, board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.
“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. 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.
“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.
“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.”
Spurs have added a host of players to their squad during the summer transfer window, which closes on Monday, so appear in good shape to cope without Bale. They include Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Paulinho.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for he 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.”
Bale made his league debut as a 16-year-old for Southampton in 2006 before joining Tottenham the following year.
He was twice crowned PFA player of the year during his time at Spurs, including last season when he scored a series of spectacular goals.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, speaking after his side’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday, said: “We wish him all the best.
“The player is an absolutely wonderful player. He has left us with some great memories from last season which every Tottenham fan cherishes, but he has moved on and we will move on as well.”