Gareth Bale has admitted waiting for his record-breaking move from Tottenham to Real Madrid to go through was a stressful experience.
The Welshman became the most expensive footballer in the history of the game as he completed his £86 million move to Real Madrid on Monday - but not before one of the lengthiest transfer sagas of the summer.
Spurs held out until the last minute before giving the green light for Bale to head to the Bernabeu, and he admits he didn't enjoy being left in limbo for much of the summer.
Speaking to BT Sport after his unveiling in front of 20,000 Madridistas, Bale said: It’s obviously been a whirlwind few days but it was great being unveiled.
“It’s quite nice to come back and relax, and get back to normality really.”
“It’s been very stressful, to say the least. I knew they were interested from the start and I was always confident the move would go through but obviously the chairman, Daniel Levy, had to do his business and do Tottenham well so I kind of understood that.
“But at the same time, thinking of myself it was a hard time. It was stressful and I just had to be patient and try and focus and I believed they [Real Madrid] would get the deal through, and finally they did and it was great to be unveiled.”
Bale is now back in Cardiff with the Welsh national team after completing his move, but is unlikely to feature as he makes his way back to full fitness after a disrupted pre-season.
Bale spent six years with Tottenham, joining the north London club from Southampton, and the 24-year-old says he can't quite believe how far he has come since a growth spurt during his younger days threatened his chances of making it.
"I had a lot of growing problems in my back, which made my hamstrings tighter, which meant I couldn’t run as quick," he said.
“It affected the way I played and it was quite frustrating at the time. I was trying to do things I knew I could do before but I was restricted. I think they believed it [Bale’s talent] was still there and it was just a phase I needed to come through.
“There was a lot of debate [about Bale’s future at Southampton] but everyone at Southampton, especially Rod Ruddock, the guy who actually spotted me when I was nine, believed that I would make it and we got through that phase. I showed what I was capable of and that was the end of that.
“At that time I don’t think anyone expected anything to happen in the future as big as it did but it was thanks to all of them for the faith they showed in me.
“ I think those little strokes of luck, and the bounce of the ball, you need sometimes to get where you are and luckily that went in my favour.
“I always believed in my ability but in any sport you need that little bit of luck. A scout might be there a day you’re playing in a certain game, which obviously happened for me.
“I think there is an element of luck but I think a lot of it is down to your hard work and dedication and how much effort you put in on game days.
“That’s been there since I started and that’s still there now.”