‘Searingly honest’: Jake’s Bale exclusive
Jake met up with Gareth Bale - the most expensive footballer on the planet and newest Galactico - to chat about the Welshman’s £85.3 million move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Speaking in Cardiff ahead of Wales World Cup qualifying clash against Macedonia, the winger admitted that after the chaos of signing and being unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu to thousands of fans, “It’s quite nice to come back and relax - and get back to normality, really.”
Talking about the transfer saga that had dragged on all summer, Bale reflected: “It’s been very stressful, to say the least. I knew they were interested from the start and I was always confident the move would go through but obviously the chairman, Daniel Levy, had to do his business and do Tottenham well, so I kind of understood that.
“But at the same time, thinking of myself, it was a hard time. It was stressful and I just had to be patient and try and focus and I believed they [Real Madrid] would get the deal through, and finally they did.”
Gareth added that it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to join Los Blancos. “I remember family holidays when we used to go to Spain and we’d bring back replica shirts of Real Madrid and pretend to be the players when we played in the park.
“I’ve followed them ever since and the football they played, the team they had, was amazing and it’s just great to be there.”
Whilst Bale’s rise to prominence last season was stratospheric, it’s not always been easy and he admitted everything could so easily have been different. While this week may have been difficult for the 24-year, the winger is intensely grateful to the staff at first club Southampton for sticking by him through tough times through injury when many young footballers could have fallen by the wayside.
"It was quite difficult," he said. "I had a lot of growing problems with my back which made my hamstrings tighter which means I couldn't run so quick and it kind of affected the way I played.
"So it was quite frustrating at that time, trying to do things you were able to do before but were then restricted to do.
"I think they believed that it was still there and it was a phase that I just needed to come through.
"There was a lot of debate but I think everybody at Southampton and especially Rod Ruddick, the Southampton scout who actually spotted me when I was nine, all believed that I would make it and we got through that phase and I actually showed what I was capable of."
However it's not all bad news for Spurs fans mourning the loss of their star player. The Welshman did add: “I love all the Tottenham fans and hopefully one day, you never know, I could be back...”