Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Gareth Bale 'hungry' to help Tottenham end trophy wait after completing loan from Real Madrid

Welsh forward returns to former club, seven years after leaving in a then world record deal

Gareth Bale poses in his new Tottenham shirt after completing a loan move back to his former club. Getty
Gareth Bale poses in his new Tottenham shirt after completing a loan move back to his former club. Getty

Gareth Bale has said he was "hungry" to help Tottenham Hotspur end their 12-year wait for a trophy and believes his title-winning experience at Real Madrid will prove valuable to the Premier League club.

Bale completed a loan switch back to Spurs on Saturday, seven years after leaving for Madrid in a then world-record fee of £85 million (Dh403.3m).

The Welsh forward, 31, won four Champions League titles, two La Ligas and a Copa del Rey - where he scored a memorable winner against Barcelona in the final - with the Spanish giants.

However, Bale has been frozen out by Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who had hoped to move the Wales captain on last summer before a deal to China fell through.

The former Southampton winger made only two appearances for Madrid after football's return from the coronavirus lockdown and did not even travel for Real's Champions League exit to Manchester City in June.

Bale has now got his move back to his former club and he believes the time is right for a new challenge.

"I always thought when I did leave that one day I would love to come back, and the opportunity has now arisen," Bale told the Tottenham website. "I feel like it's a good fit, it's a good time for me, I'm hungry, I'm motivated, I want to do well and can't wait to get started."

While Bale has been busy filling his trophy cabinet as a Madrid player, Tottenham's attempts at clinching their first silverware since the 2008 League Cup have fallen short.

Having been there and done it so many times, Bale believes that experience can give Spurs something extra in their pursuit of trophies.

"I think by going to Madrid, winning trophies and going far with the national team, I feel like I have that winning mentality, how to win trophies," he said.

"You don't realise until you are there, in those situations, in finals, and knowing how to deal with those situations, the nerves, the pressure, and that all comes with experience.

"Hopefully, I'll bring that to the dressing room, bring that belief that we can win a trophy, and the time to do that is this season, and not just one, to be fighting on every front possible. I want to bring that mentality back to Tottenham."

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Gareth Bale's best goals for Real Madrid

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Tottenham will reportedly pay half of Bale's €30m (Dh130.5m) salary for the season, with Madrid covering the rest.

He will wear the No 9 shirt and form an exciting front-three with England captain Harry Kane and South Korea's Son Heung-min.

Jose Mourinho's men are badly in need of a lift after failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in five years last season and starting their new Premier League campaign with a dispiriting 1-0 home defeat to Everton.

At Spurs, Bale is still remembered as one of the club's all-time greats.

He twice won Premier League Players' Player of the Year during his first spell at the side, during which he scored 56 goals in 203 appearances and lured Madrid into paying a record-breaking price for his services.

"This is such a special club to me. It's where I made my name," he said. "What an amazing club, amazing fans, and it's just incredible to be back. Hopefully now I can get some match fitness, help the team and win trophies."

Tottenham confirmed Bale would not be fit until late October because of a knee injury picked up playing for Wales this month.

Reguilon also arrives

Spanish international left back Sergio Reguilon also made a permanent move from Madrid to Tottenham on Saturday for a reported €30m.

Reguilon heads to London after starring while on loan for Europa League winners Sevilla last season.

Madrid, though, will reportedly retain a buy-back option on the 23-year-old for the next two seasons.

"Tottenham have world-class players and a world-class coach, and I want to work with them," said Reguilon.

"I think that I'm coming to the best and most difficult league in the world. I'm excited about this adventure."

Updated: September 20, 2020 12:45 PM

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