The €100m man: Gareth Bale presented as a Real Madrid player
Gareth Bale has been presented as a Real Madrid player after completing his record-breaking move from Tottenham.
Bale flew to the Spanish capital this morning after Real ended over two months of speculation, gossip and negotiation on Sunday night by announcing they had agreed a deal - thought to be worth €100m - with Spurs for the 24-year-old.
The Wales international successfully passed his medical before signing a six-year contract with the Spanish giants, where he will link up with Cristiano Ronaldo, who in 2009 became the most expensive player in the world when Real signed him from Manchester United for £80m.
After putting pen to paper on his Madrid contract, Bale was officially unveiled to fans at the Bernabeu during a presentation that also saw club president Florentino Perez welcome the forward to the nine-time European champions.
Bale, who will wear the number 11 shirt at Madrid, also spoke to his new supporters, including a message in Spanish where he said: "Hello, it's a dream for me to play for Real Madrid. Thank you for the great welcome. Go Madrid!"
Madrid will hope the acquisition of Bale will help them achieve their ambition of winning a record 10th European Cup title this season, something that has become an obsession for the club in recent years.
Despite huge outlays on 'galacticos' such as Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and David Beckham, the last time the club conquered Europe was back in 2002.
Bale is keen to help them end that wait, saying: "It's great to be here and I hope I can help the team win the 10th European Cup."
Following his presentation, Bale changed out of his suit and into his Madrid kit before heading down to the Bernabeu pitch, where he performed the traditional keep-ups in front of around 20,000 fans before kicking and throwing balls into the crowd as he made his way around the pitch.
He then made his way to the centre circle where he applauded the supporters and kissed the Madrid badge on his shirt.
Bale revealed last night that joining Madrid was the fulfilment of a dream of his.
He said: "I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams, but I can honestly say, this is my dream come true."
Spurs and Madrid have clashed on several occasions throughout the summer as the Bale transfer saga waged on.
Tottenham were annoyed at the stage being erected at the Bernabeu for a possible Bale presentation two weeks ago and the idea of Bale shirts being sold on the Real Madrid website.
But the biggest gripe Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy had with Real was with their public flattery towards Bale, which he thinks unsettled the player.
"Gareth was a player we had absolutely no intention of selling as we look to build for the future. He is a player whose career we have fostered and developed and he was only a year into his new four-year contract,'' Levy said last night.
"Such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth's desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.
"We have, therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to this sale."
Speaking at Bale's presentation today, Madrid president Perez admitted the negotiations had been tough.
He said: "Without a doubt the negotiations have been complicated and difficult but I want to thank Tottenham for helping us sign this magnificent player.
"His (Bale's) will and determination has been essential in making this signing a reality."
On what it means to be a Madrid player, Perez said: "Our players should know where this club comes from and that it belongs to its members and all its supporters.
"We have signed a man who knows very well that Madrid is all about commitment and hard work, someone who was chosen as the best player in the Premier League last year.
"A player who is still young but who has incredible qualities, who was born to play football.
"Our fans will demand the maximum of you and your team-mates but we will also give you all the help and support you need.
"The legend of this club was built by magnificent players and now you are one of their descendants.
"Gareth, this is your shirt, this is your stadium, this is your badge, these are your fans."