Gareth Bale, who just extended his contract with Real Madrid as the club’s highest earner, says he’s completely astonished at the route he took to success. He will be playing for the Spanish giants in the next six years.
The Wales international footballer admits it’s not common for British players to succeed abroad, so it’s understandable why his achievements call for celebration.
“I had one season where it wasn’t the best but that made me grow up as a player and person,” he reveals.
“It made me learn to deal with whatever is thrown at me.
“In football you have good seasons and bad seasons, there was no real turning point,” he said.
“Sometimes things go for you, sometimes they don’t. If things are going bad and you keep working hard, things will turn around eventually.
“I understand with media you’ll get good and bad press. But if you take too much notice you’ll put yourself down.”
Answering a question on how life in Spain affected him as a British, the Welsh forward interestingly adds: “It’s changed me quite a lot.
“The reason I came was to try something different. It’s never easy. British players travelling abroad are usually not successful but I wanted to try.
“I feel more comfortable each year I’m here. I’m improving my Spanish, my family are more settled. I fully expect to see out my contract here. I don’t know when I’ll retire. I’m not looking past the next six years.”
The 27-year-old joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a world record fee of 100 million euros in 2013 though the figure was widely debated in the media for Ronaldo’s sake.
Bale has since celebrated two Champions League trophies and the King’s Cup with Los Blancos.
“I grew up watching the Premier League and Real Madrid, but when you have the opportunity to play here you cannot waste it,” Bale said.
“I’m only thinking about Real Madrid and I am very happy to be here.”
The heavily-built forward gave a press release for the first time after putting pen to paper in an agreement that will keep him at Madrid until June 2022.
He said: “Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world.
“I definitely made the right decision. Real matches all my ambitions. It’s been three great seasons. I hope there are six more years like this. I feel very happy and loved here.
“When I first arrived, I wanted to win trophies and succeed,” Bale said. “I wanted to improve my football and my game. It has changed me as a person.
“I’ve experienced great moments. Winning the Champions League for this club is the pinnacle.”