His total last season of 21 goals in 33 league appearances was an impressive tally, but in the seasons prior he had failed to reach double figures.
The Welsh winger was a clear talent and one of the best players in the Premier League at the time. Along with other personal accolades he had won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year simultaneously.
In terms of team silverware he had one runners-up medal in the League Cup from 2009. At the age of 24, there was still plenty of time to improve on this and grow individually.
The problem for most was that he wasn't the best player in the world or regarded as in the top three. For many he wasn't even the best in England last year.
The fee in itself was setting a seemingly unattainable precedent. If Bale is worth that much, then how much are Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez worth?
Was he really twice as good as Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao or Mesut Ozil?
The issue with this is that all transfers should be viewed exclusively. The fee is determined by so many mitigating factors that it seems unfair to make comparisons.
Age, position, personality, style, tactical awareness, wealth of the buying club and the need to sell are just some of the factors that need consideration.
The desperation of Madrid President Florentino Perez and the hard bargaining of Spurs' Daniel Levy really shouldn't be used as a future measuring tool.
Another concern was that the only other purchase in the same proximity was new team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese forward averages a goal a game since arriving in Madrid.
His fee is rarely referred too and then only by disgruntled Manchester United fans questioning the time it took to reinvest the money.
"We still haven’t seen the true Bale," said Perez recently, via The Daily Mail. "He will be one of the great players in the world. Some people, trying to do damage to me, have said things it’s not worth even answering. But people who understand this sport know Bale is one of the best."
That faith is certainly beginning to see a reward. Bale hadn't had a pre-season when he joined the club and his campaign has been continually disrupted by injury.
His performances have steadily improved and his link-up play with his fellow forwards at times has been devastating.
Despite the stop-and-start nature of his first eight months, he has scored 14 league goals in 22 starts and five from seven in the Champions League.
Only three players have made more La Liga assists than Bale and one of them is fellow Los Blancos player Angel Di Maria.
When you consider it's his first year in a foreign league and country, it's impressive. That achievement is multiplied further as a British player in a non-English-speaking land, as Brits notoriously don't travel well in the game.
His winning goal in the final of the Copa del Rey was the announcement he needed. Without Ronaldo he has shown he can carry the weight of expectation for the team.
Then alongside him he combined superbly for the third goal in the 4-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
"It was a fantastic result," Bale told ITV, per Football Espana. "It was a good performance and we’re delighted to be in the final. This is why I wanted to come to the biggest club in the world."