Gareth Bale Returns to Tottenham on Season-Long Loan from Real Madrid

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2020

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale leaves the game during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Tottenham Hotspur announced Saturday that Gareth Bale is returning to the club on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

Bale became a star during his six-year stint with Spurs from 2007 to 2013, but he departed the club ahead of the 2013-14 season for a then-record fee of €100 million when he signed a six-year deal with the Spanish giants.

The 31-year-old Bale has spent the past seven seasons with Real Madrid, but his relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane has always been in question since the Frenchman rejoined the club in 2019. Bale made only 20 appearances for Los Blancos in 2019-20.

Last season notwithstanding, Bale has been one of the biggest stars in the sport for the better part of the past decade.

The Welsh winger put himself on the map in his final season at Tottenham in 2012-13 when he scored a career-high 21 league goals and 26 goals across all competitions. Overall, Bale scored 55 goals in 203 appearances for Spurs.

Bale's attacking and scoring ability carried over to Real Madrid initially, as he scored at least 17 goals across all competitions in four of his first five seasons with the club. That included 22 in 2013-14 and 21 in 2017-18.

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That number dipped to 14 in 2018-19 and then just three last season, which was his lowest total in a season since scoring the same amount for Tottenham in 2009-10.

Bale has scored 105 times in 251 appearances as part of the Real Madrid squad during his seven years there.

While Bale's usage, play and overall effectiveness tailed off last season, he has enjoyed a great deal of success at Real Madrid. He won La Liga titles with the club in 2017 and 2020 and four UEFA Champions League titles across his stay at the club.

Tottenham only managed a sixth-place finish in the EPL last season and were a whopping 40 points behind championship-winning Liverpool.

Bale may not be enough to help Tottenham make up that margin, but his presence should give Spurs one of the most dangerous attacks in the league alongside Heung Min Son and Harry Kane.

It stands to reason that Bale wouldn't have been a significant part of the Real Madrid lineup in 2020-21 had he stayed, but he will likely receive a hero's welcome upon returning from Tottenham—at least among fans watching from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.