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File: Gareth Bale

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Uploaded:
05.09.13
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05.09.13
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Gareth BaleGareth Frank Bale (born 16 July 1989) is a Welsh footballer who plays for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Wales national team as a winger.

GARETH BALE THEMED WEB SEARCH

Bale began his professional career at Southampton, playing at left back and earnt acclaim as a free kick specialist. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, for an eventual £7 million fee. During his time at Spurs, managerial and tactical shifts saw him transform into a more offensively-oriented player. From the 2009–10 season, Bale became an integral part of the team, rising to international attention during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League. He was named PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013, and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year in 2011.

Bale has received plaudits from his peers, who have described him as a footballer with "tremendous speed, great crossing ability, a great left foot and exceptional physical qualities". During the 2012–13 season he was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year, the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards.

On 1 September 2013, he was transferred to Spanish team Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £85.3 million

Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales, to parents Frank, a school caretaker, and Debbie, an operations manager; he attended Eglwys Newydd Primary School at Whitchurch. He is the nephew of former Cardiff City footballer Chris Pike. It was while at this school he first came to the attention of Southampton at age nine, when he was playing in a six-a-side tournament with his first club, Cardiff Civil Service Football Club. Growing up, his football hero was fellow Welshman and Manchester United player Ryan Giggs.

Bale attended Whitchurch High School in Cardiff. He was a keen athlete and played football alongside Wales flanker and captain Sam Warburton, rugby, hockey and excelled at athletics. As a 14 year old he says that he ran the 100 metre sprint in 11.4 seconds. Because of his superior footballing skill, the school's PE teacher, Gwyn Morris, had to write special rules which restricted Bale to playing one-touch football and not using his left foot. Whilst at Whitchurch, Bale trained at Southampton's satellite academy in Bath, although there was initially some doubt if Southampton would give him a scholarship due to his height.

Despite being only 16 at the time, he helped the school's under-18 side win the Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup. He left school in the summer of 2005 with a Grade A in PE amongst his GCSE results. In his final year at school, he was awarded the PE department's prize for services to sport. In the presentation, Morris commented:

"Gareth has a fierce determination to succeed and has the character and qualities to achieve his personal goals. He is one of the most unselfish individuals that I have had the pleasure to help educate."

Bale lives in London with partner Emma Rhys-Jones, his high school sweetheart. Their first child, born at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff on 21 October 2012 was named Alba Violet.

Bale, who met the age criteria to play in the 2012 London Olympics, said he would "love to play in the Olympics" for the Great Britain Olympic football team, in defiance of the Welsh FA. On 28 October 2011 Bale became the first player to be photographed modelling the British 2012 London Olympics football supporters' shirt. In response, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford said: "Our position remains unchanged. We are not for Team GB. Gareth can make his own choices and make his own decisions. But we are not going to stop anyone playing." On behalf of Gareth Bale a spokesman said "while he is 100% Welsh, he is also British".

At the end of June 2012, Bale pulled out of the tournament with a back injury. On 29 June, he advised the Team GB football manager, Stuart Pearce, that he would not be available for selection as he had aggravated an old back and hip injury during a training run. In view of the short recovery time between the end of the Olympics and the start of the Premier League season, Bale had decided to withdraw rather than exacerbate the problem. Bale recovered from his injury in good time to be included on Spurs' pre-season tour of the United States, scoring against LA Galaxy on 24 July and against New York Red Bulls a week later. Between these matches, Bale also played against Liverpool when he was injured in a tackle by Charlie Adam.

Bale's appearances in Spurs' pre-season tour coincided with Team GB's Olympic matches, where they drew with Senegal before victories over United Arab Emirates and Uruguay took them through to the knockout stages, where they lost to South Korea following a penalty shoot-out. Bale's withdrawal from the Team GB squad attracted calls for sanctions against him including a ban from the rest of Spurs' pre-season tour but, in the absence of an official complaint by Team GB, these were not carried out. Spurs' manager, Andre Villas-Boas, defended the player insisting that Bale "had recovered quicker than expected". The club's stance was supported by British Olympic Association chairman Lord Moynihan.

Tottenham released a statement in relation to Bale's non-selection for Team GB, they stated that "Gareth sustained an injury as he built up his fitness ahead of joining up with Stuart Pearce's side. MRI scan reports were sent to the FA medical team on 29 June (2012). He was subsequently not selected on the basis of this injury and the inability to predict recovery time. This decision was not taken lightly and made only after consultation with Team GB's medical team, who were in agreement after seeing the medical reports".

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