Transfer saga ends as Bale joins Real

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Transfer saga ends as Bale joins Real

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Gareth Bale

LONDON - The transfer window’s longest-running saga finally ended on Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur forward Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid for a world transfer record fee of 100 million euros ($131.2 million).

To the relief of almost everyone involved, the Spurs, Real Madrid, the player and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy issued statements saying the deal for the Wales international was done, with just the formality of a physical in Madrid to come on Monday, transfer deadline day.

The fee eclipses the previous record of 94 million euros that Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United in 2009.

For that money the Spanish aristocrats are buying an outstanding young player who won games for the Spurs almost single-handedly last season.

It also confirms yet again that when Real target a player they normally sign him, even if the other club are reluctant to sell, as the Spurs steadfastly were.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was the first to announce that Bale, 24, was leaving when he spoke to reporters after his team’s 1-0 Premier League defeat in the north London derby to archrivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Bale has not played in any of the Spurs’ five opening Premier League or Europa League matches this season due to what was described as an ankle injury.

He last played for the club in an early preseason friendly, scoring in a 1-1 draw at Swindon Town in July.

“He is an absolutely wonderful player. He is going to join Real Madrid and he has left us with great memories from last season which every Tottenham fan cherishes. He has moved on and we have moved on as well,” Villas-Boas said.

“We have to move forward. Tottenham has made some great investments in the money that will come from Gareth Bale, which is wonderful.”

The Spurs have not been slow to reinvest the money, breaking their own transfer record three times in this window with the acquisitions of Paulinho from Corinthians in Brazil for 17 million pounds ($26.5 million), followed by Roberto Soldado from Valencia for 26 million pounds on Friday.

They have also signed Nacer Chadli from Twente Enschede, Christian Eriksen from Ajax Amsterdam, Etienne Capoue from Toulouse and Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest, taking their total outlay to about 110 million pounds. Reuters
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