Gareth Bale has gone from strength to strength since leaving Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013.
Over the course of three full seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Welshman has evolved into the complete attacking weapon – a touch reminiscent of his colleague Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale has racked up a staggering 65 goals and 40 assists in a white shirt and shown no signs of letting his €100 million price tag weigh down on him.
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The 27-year-old has been such a hit in Madrid that Manchester United were willing to throw £100 million at the La Liga giants in order to lure him back to the Premier League last summer.
However, Los Blancos have all but quashed any possibility of Bale leaving by signing him up to a new six-year contract extension which unsurprisingly includes an eye-watering release clause.
According to ESPN, his new deal will require clubs to pay €500 million (£452 million) in order to speak with the Wales international throughout the duration of the agreement.
Bale is set to officially commit his future to Madrid in a news conference on Monday, as have Toni Kroos and Luka Modric with Ronaldo expected to do likewise soon.
The former Southampton youth player has long been expected to eventually supplant the Portuguese as the most important member of Zinedine Zidane’s glittering squad in the near future.
Former Real Madrid and Wales coach John Toshack – who gave Bale his international debut at the age of 17 in 2006 – believes it is only a matter of time before it happens.
Toshack told Cadena Ser: "I see a Real Madrid enjoying Bale at the top of his game for two or three years. I believe Bale will win the Ballon d'Or in his career. In a few years, he will become the leader [of Real Madrid].”
If Bale continues devastating any defence unfortunate enough to face him, there is every chance he will cement his status as one of the greatest players of his generation.
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