Gareth Bale said his drawn-out move to Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee was “stressful to say the least”.
The 24-year-old joined Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday for €100 million (R1.35 billion), a fee which made him the world’s most expensive player, the day before the transfer window closed and after months of speculation about his future.
“It was a long time. It was very stressful to say the least,” Bale told BT Sport today.
“I knew their interest 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.”
Bale is currently preparing for Wales’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia after being unveiled at Madrid’s Bernabeu on Monday.
He has not played since July and missed most of Spurs’ preseason training owing to injury, so is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes in either tomorrow or Tuesday’s qualifier.
He rejoined his Wales team-mates soon after being presented to thousands of fans as Madrid’s latest “galactico” signing and said it was somewhat of a relief to be back among familiar faces.
“It’s obviously been a whirlwind few days,” the former Southampton player said.
“It’s quite nice to come back, relax and get back to normality, really.”
Having set the Premier League alight last season with 21 goals in 33 league appearances, Spurs fans were hoping he would stick with the club and help them continue their push for a spot in the Champions League, having missed out to bitter London rivals Arsenal by one point.
However, Bale said once Madrid showed their interest in him he was determined to move and realise a boyhood dream, with a picture being revealed at his unveiling of him wearing a club shirt as a child.
“When I was younger, I had some close friends and we always loved European football and Real Madrid at that time were the dominant force and we always watched Real Madrid,” he said.
“I remember family holidays, we used to go Spain, and we’d bring back replica shirts of Real Madrid and wear them out and always pretend to be the players when we played in the park.
“It just started from there and I followed them since.
“Obviously, the football they play, the team they are, is amazing and it’s just great to be there.”
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