Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale has finally ended months of transfer speculation surrounding his future. The Welshman will play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid next season.
Bale will sign a six-year contract with the Spanish giants and is scheduled to be presented to fans at 4:30pm IST on Monday, 2 September. The transfer fee is rumoured to be £85 million (€100million), a record sum.
"I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it's the right time to say goodbye," Bale said in a statement. "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," he continued, "the Chairman, Board, staff, coaches and players and, most of all, the fantastic fans, who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity."
With Tottenham wishing to keep the player, the transfer has materialised due to Bale's insistence on leaving.
"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," he explained. "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."
Bale began his career at Southampton and made his debut, at the age of 16, in April 2006. The following season, he transferred to Tottenham for a final fee of £7 million. The player highlights how influential both clubs were in his development.
"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," he said. "Tottenham will always be in my heart and I'm sure that this season will be a successful one for them."
Real Madrid, however, offers him the chance to play with Europe's elite players, a chance too good to pass up.
"I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid," he concluded.
The tag of world's most expensive player is sure to put immense pressure on Bale. It may also impact the dressing room dynamic with former record holder Cristiano Ronaldo. It will be interesting to see how Bale fits into the team and culture at Real Madrid.