London (AFP) – Gareth Bale believes his trophy-winning experience at Real Madrid can help Tottenham end a 12-year wait for silverware after completing his return to Spurs on a season-long loan deal on Saturday.
Bale will not be fit to make his second debut for the club until late October due to an injury.
But after being frozen out by coach Zinedine Zidane at the Spanish champions, the Welshman said he is motivated to prove he remains one of the world’s best players.
“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.”
Bale, 31, won four Champions League and two La Liga titles with Madrid after moving for a then world-record fee of £85 million (today $110 million, 93 million euros) in 2013.
“Our club wishes good luck to a player who has been part of one of the most successful stages of our history,” Madrid said in a statement.
However, he had fallen out of favour since Zidane’s return as coach in May 2019.
The former Southampton winger made just two appearances for Madrid after football’s return from the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic and did not even travel for Real’s Champions League exit to Manchester City in June.
– Winning mentality –
“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.
“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.”
Tottenham will reportedly pay half of Bale’s huge 30 million euro salary for the season, with Madrid still on the hook for the rest.
He will wear the number nine 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, which saw him score 56 goals in 203 appearances and lure 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 added. “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 will not be fit until late October due to a knee injury picked up playing for Wales earlier this month.
Spanish international left-back Sergio Reguilon also made a permanent move from Madrid to Tottenham on Saturday for a reported 30 million euros.
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.”
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