Gareth Bale signs new bumper deal with Real Madrid

Gareth Bale declared the lure of "the biggest club in the world" behind his decision to sign a new bumper six-year deal with Real Madrid which makes him one of football's highest paid players.

Gareth Bale signs new bumper deal with Real Madrid
Gareth Bale is one of the highest paid footballers in the world. Photo: AFP

Bale, who has won two Champions League titles in three seasons in Spain, is set to take home as much as £350,000 (€389,000, $425,000) a week after tax, according to British media, though reported figures vary wildly.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to retain his status as top dog of the pay packet at the Bernabeu with the Portuguese expected to become the latest Madrid star to extend his deal in the coming weeks.

“It's Real Madrid, it is the biggest club in the world,” Bale told the world's media on Monday at a press conference to announce the new deal.

“When an opportunity to play for Real Madrid comes up, you don't turn it down.”

Bale joined Real for a then-world record fee of just over €100 million from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

“I think I definitely made the right decision. We've won two Champions Leagues in the three years since I have been here. That is better than anyone else,” he added.

“It matches all my ambitions, so I am happy to be here and we need to win a lot more trophies in the next six years.”

Bale has enjoyed and endured plenty of ups and downs in his three seasons in the Spanish capital.

Goals to win the 2014 Champions League and Copa del Rey finals made him an
instant hit.

However, he suffered from stinging criticism and was jeered by the Real fans towards the end of a trophyless second season.

“It's very easy to pack up and leave and go elsewhere, but it takes more character to stay here and fight,” added Bale.   

“I've always grown up with the idea if things are not right you work hard to make it right.”

And he believes it is that campaign rather than the heights of Champions League success in Lisbon in Milan that has made him a better player.    

“When British players travel abroad it is never usually greatly successful, but it's something I wanted to try, something to improve my football,” he continued.

“I had one season when it maybe wasn't the best, but I think this was the best season for me.

“It made me grow up as a player and a person and I think gave me more confidence to deal with whatever is thrown at me.”   

Real president Florentino Perez has long believed in Bale to be the man to succeed Ronaldo as Real's best and most marketable player.   

That could be enhanced by a first ever place on the podium for the Ballon d'Or after Bale was named among the 30 nominees for the prize last week.   

However, Bale insisted emulating Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d'Or is not top of his wish list.

“It's never been a personal goal. I never dreamed of winning the Ballon d'Or when I was young, I dreamed of winning Champions Leagues and leagues.”

By Kieran Canning / AFP 

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Gareth Bale out for up to four months following ankle surgery

Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale could be out for up to four month after undergoing surgery on an injured right ankle, according to press reports in Spain.

Gareth Bale out for up to four months following ankle surgery
Photo: AFP

It was initially hoped that Bale could be back in action within two to three months after suffering the injury to the peroneal tendons in his ankle during Real's 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon last week.

Photo: AFP

However, after undergoing surgery in London on Tuesday, Madrid sports daily AS reported the Welshman is unlikely to return before April.   

As well as a huge blow to Madrid's hopes in La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League, Bale's absence could prove fatal to Wales' chances of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

After a glorious run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, Chris Coleman's side trail Group D leaders Republic of Ireland by four points ahead of the sides meeting in Dublin on March 24th.

Bale is certain to miss Saturday's El Clasico against Barcelona, the Club World Cup later this month and the first leg of Real's last 16 Champions League tie.