It was only around four and a half years ago that Gareth Bale was a mediocre left-back for Tottenham.
At the time he was being kept out of the team by Cameroon international Benoit Assou-Ekotto and being dubbed as Tottenham's 'unlucky charm'. How things change so fast.
Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales and attended Eglwys Newydd Primary School at Whitchurch. He was said to have idolised fellow Welshman Ryan Giggs in which prompted him to follow in his footsteps.
It was however, not brought to his attention that one day, he would emulate Giggs' performances.
Gareth Bale had exceptional footballing ability at a very young age and first caught the attention of a Southampton scout when he was just 9-years-old, playing in a six-a-side tournament for his old club, Cardiff civil service football club.
It was Southampton's youth recruitment officer Rod Ruddick who spotted Bale playing in the tournament.
Ruddick told WalesOnline: "It was the sort of tournament you go to hundreds of times but on this occasion a quick, left-footed kid that ran at people jumped out at me. I didn't know then that he was going to be a star, but after a few years training at Southampton's satellite academy in Bath we sensed we had someone special.”
Bale was a keen sportsman as a boy at school, excelling at Football, Athletics, Hockey, and Rugby. Sources suggest that Bale could run the 100m sprint in approximately 11.4 seconds.
Due to his superior footballing skill compared to his peers at school, PE teacher Gwyn Morris had to write special rules, which prevented the Welshman to use his left foot and to play one-touch football.
Whilst still at Whitchurch, he was under trial at Southampton though there was initially some doubt whether or not he would get offered a professional contract due to Bale struggling to adapt to a teenage growth spurt.
On 17th April 2006, Bale became Southampton's second ever youngest player after Theo Walcott, when he made his debut in a 2-0 win over Championship club, Millwall.
Bale looked set to be a hot prospect for the future with his accurate free kicks and bursts of pace going forward, attracting interest from Premier League clubs.
Tottenham eventually signed the Welshman for an initial £5m fee rising to £10m.
Bale struggled to find form in his first two seasons at the club, due to the many injuries he picked up. Bale played a record of 24 matches without Spurs winning a league game, and the Welshman was often referred to as the unlucky charm.
When left back Assou-Ekotto was sidelined with injury in 2009, Bale was given a chance under Harry Redknapp. Bale rose to the occasion and gave solid performances for Tottenham, including two winning goals in two successive matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
This saw the Welshman transform into a left winger, in which greatly benefited his career.
The following season, Bale gave in exceptional Champions League performances including his first senior hat trick against Inter Milan and roasting full back Maicon.
It was last season, however when Bale stepped up his game from a great player to a world class player after netting 21 premier league goals.
On September 1st 2013, Gareth Bale got his dream move to Real Madrid in an £85m switch. Gareth Bale hopes to continue his form and excel greatly for the rest of his footballing career.
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