Eight months ago Gareth Bale moved to Real Madrid, with the weight of an £85.2 million price tag on his shoulders and the gaze of the sporting world fixed on his every move.
Whatever the critics make of Bale's colossal price tag, they will struggle to deny that the Welshman has hit the ground running in his first season in Spain having scored 20 goals in La Liga.
But as Bale revealed in an exclusive interview with Claire Balding, his swift transition would not have been possible without his former Tottenham team mate Luka Modric, who helped him get acquainted with his fellow Galacticos.
"Having him (Modric) here was obviously a massive plus for me. I obviously spoke to him about it, when he came to Madrid he didn’t really know anybody so it was quite difficult for him in his first year but having him here this year has made me settle in so much quicker.
"Just being able to go in to the group and knowing someone, hanging around with them rather than feeling I am stuck on my own so it’s been a great help on and off the pitch and obviously I’m thankful for that."
Bale and Modric were at Spurs together for five years, during which they formed a dynamic partnership on the field, and a budding friendship off it. A friendship Modric did not forget in their year apart.
"I spoke with him about various things and obviously a few of the other players as well. They advised me where to live and I had a look around everywhere and decided to live where I am now.
"I am very happy where I’m living, very happy here in Madrid at the moment and hopefully I can be here for a long time."
But Modric was not the only former Premier League player in Bale's welcome party.
"I think since the first step that I made into Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo been absolutely amazing with me. He’s given me advice on and off the pitch, with football matters and not and he’s given me advice where to live and stuff like that.
"He is such a nice guy, so helpful, always wants the best for the team. He is a great man and a great footballer as well."
Bale seems to have settled in Spain, now he is just looking to master the language.
"Now I’ve been here for eight or so months I’ve started to pick up on what’s being said and if I don’t understand something I’ll go and speak to Paul or maybe speak to Luka or one of the boys who speaks both languages to as what they said.
"I suppose in a period of time I’m going to get used to listening to and hearing the language and hopefully not in the too far distant future I’ll be able to understand it fully."
And when the becomes fluent in his language, his communication with his team mates will inevitably improve, an ominous thought for the La Liga defences.
Gareth Bale was speaking on The Clare Balding Show, to see the full interview tune in to BT Sport 1 at 8pm on Thursday 15th May”
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