I am convinced he should still be a Spurs player, because I believe the club should never have sold him.
If I had been the manager at the club I would have done all I could to have kept Bale in the Tottenham team.
I have to admit, though, it would have been difficult, and I have no doubt that the club tried their best to keep him despite the world-record fee on the table from Real Madrid. I have no doubt there were attempts behind the scenes to try to keep him.
I know Daniel Levy thought Spurs could win the title if they had kept Bale and also invested in more players.
Certainly Spurs would have been title challengers and most definitely had a good chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Last summer I would have advised Gareth to have stayed for one more year. I moved abroad at the age of 29 to Monaco and found the adjustment difficult, not so much on the field but settling in off it. We see so many foreign players taking their time to settle in when they move to the Premier League—quite a few of them at Tottenham at the moment!
I thought from a personality point of view it was too early for Gareth to go abroad. I have to say he has proved me wrong in spectacular fashion as he has been exceptionally good in Madrid.
One of the main reasons, I would think, is the way that Cristiano Ronaldo has welcomed him with open arms.
You might have thought there would have been a tinge of jealousy at the arrival of a new star on lavish wages but not a bit of it. Ronaldo has embraced him, and it has been good to see.
The truth of the matter is that even our top clubs in the Premier League cannot keep hold of one of their big stars if a club like Madrid come calling, not simply because of the phenomenal wealth they can offer but for the privilege of playing for such an enormous club.
I had always wanted to play abroad and had a chance at the age of 21 but felt it was too early for me. I eventually got a move to France and benefited enormously from the experience and would like to see more of our top players playing on the Continent to further their footballing education.
I had to go abroad to be more respected as a player, which was never always the case here in England.
Paolo Di Canio, Iain Dowie, Alan Devonshire, Teddy Sheringham, OssieArdiles, Ricky Villa, Danny Murphy, Darren Anderton, Franco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Martin Keown, Nail Quinn, Paul Merson, Alan Smith, John Jensen, Kenny Sansom, Ian Wright are among multitude of top stars participating.
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