After an entire summer of hemming and hawing, negotiating, rumours leaked to the press, player strikes, gigantic transfer figures being thrown around, Tottenham adding countless players to replace him and Real Madrid supporters trying to figure out how the team would incorporate him, Gareth Bale has finally been sold from Spurs to Los Blancos.
Rob Harris of The Associated Press sends along confirmation from Tottenham manager Andres Villas-Boas:
Tottenham manager Villas-Boas finally confirms that Gareth Bale "is going to join Real Madrid so we wish him all the best."— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) September 1, 2013
Mirror Football adds:
AVB: "He has moved on and so have we. We thank him for the memories."— MirrorFootball (@MirrorFootball) September 1, 2013
The club then officially confirmed Bale's sale on Twitter:
The Club can announce that it has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of Gareth Bale #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 1, 2013
Gareth joined from Southampton in May 2007 and during his six years with the Club made 203 appearances, scoring 55 goals #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 1, 2013
Chairman, Daniel Levy commented, 'Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future' #THFC— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 1, 2013
Ladies and gentleman, say hello to the newest Galactico, as unveiled by Real Madrid:
OFFICIAL: Gareth Bale signs for Real Madrid for the next 6 seasons. #halamadrid— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) September 1, 2013
Also be sure to welcome the most expensive player in the history of the sport. From Joe Prince-Wright of NBC Sports:
Just confirmed to me by Tottenham's press officer. Gareth Bale sold for €100 million. The saga of the summer is over.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) September 1, 2013
Of course, there are conflicting reports about the actual fee, as Real Madrid may be trying to soothe the ego of one Cristiano Ronaldo. From Guillem Balague of Sky Sports:
Spurs talk of 100m euros. Madrid want us to believe is less than the 96m euros of Ronaldo— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) September 1, 2013
We knew Bale's heart was in Madrid for most of the summer. Now, as Adidas UK tweets, it's officially there:
Bale made the following comments, via Tottenham's website:
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.
Classy remarks, even if they won't necessarily justify his departure in the minds of Tottenham supporters.
Before everyone goes crazy debating whether Bale's surely huge transfer fee was worth it, or if Tottenham could be better without him now, let's take a moment with WhoScored.com to remember just how good he was for Spurs last season:
Gareth Bale: Without Bale's 21 Premier League goals last season, Tottenham would have gained 24 fewer points #THFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 1, 2013
And Squawka Football has another intriguing stat related to Bale's value for Tottenham a season ago:
Gareth Bale created more chances last season (75) than both future Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (62) & Barca's Lionel Messi (45).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 1, 2013
OK, now we can all lament this incredible price tag. Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report echoes the sentiments of many when breaking down this extraordinary piece of business:
Bale at €100m and £300,000 p/w before tax. There are no words, Perez.— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) September 1, 2013
Still, this is an amazing opportunity for Bale, as Tom Williams of AFP notes:
And so farewell, Gareth Bale. Sad to lose him from the Premier League, but thrilled/amazed by thought of a Welsh player joining Real Madrid.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) September 1, 2013
And former player Gary Lineker wishes nothing but the best for Bale before offering him some key advice:
From someone who did something similar eons ago, one piece of advice: Learn Spanish. Communication is vital. His football will do the rest— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 1, 2013
In truth, after Tottenham went on a pretty epic signing spree this summer, Bale's sale basically became inevitable, as Paolo Bandini of The Guardian noted:
Gareth Bale officially a Real Madrid player. After Tottenham's summer spending could never have ended any other way.— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) September 1, 2013
Meanwhile, Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sport says what we're pretty much all feeling:
Bale is official. Finally, enough of this saga.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) September 1, 2013
That sums it up perfectly, doesn't it?
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are giddy that this saga has finally come to a close.