Gareth Bale. Source: Forbes

Gareth Bale is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a winger for Real Madrid in La Liga and for Wales in the national team.

Source: Getty Images

Early life

Gareth Frank Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales, on 16 July 1989, to school caretaker Frank Bale and operations manager Debbie Bale. He is the nephew of Chris Pike, a former Cardiff City footballer.

He went to Whitchurch’s Eglwys Newydd Primary School. At the age of nine, he first caught the attention of Southampton while playing in a six-a-side tournament with his first club, Cardiff Civil Service. Ryan Giggs, a fellow Welshman and Manchester United player, was his footballing hero when he was younger.

He was an avid athlete, having competed in football alongside future Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton. Bale claims to have run the 100-metre sprint in 11.4 seconds as a 14-year-old. Gwyn Morris, the school’s PE teacher, had to write special rules restricting Bale to playing one-touch football and not using his left foot because of his superior footballing ability.

He helped the school’s under-18 team win the Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup despite being only 16 at the time. He graduated from high school in the summer of 2005, with a Grade A in PE among his other GCSEs. He received the PE department’s prize for services to sport in his final year of high school.

Career Overview

Entry into Southampton

Source: The Mirror

Bale made his Southampton debut on April 17, 2006, at the age of 16 years and 275 days, becoming the club’s second youngest player ever (after Theo Walcott, who was 132 days younger) in the Saints’ 2–0 victory over Millwall. Bale scored his first league goal, a free kick, on August 6 against Derby County, tying the game at 1–1. At Pride Park, the final score was 2–2.

In December 2006, he won the Carwyn James Award for BBC Wales Young Sports Personality of the Year, and on March 4, 2007, he was named Football League Young Player of the Year.

Tottenham Hotspur

Source:  JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Bale signed a four-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur on May 25, 2007, with the club paying an initial £5 million for the player, with the club potentially increasing the fee to £10 million based on appearances and success.

During his time at Tottenham, he was transformed into a more attacking player as a result of managerial and tactical changes. Under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp, Bale became an integral part of the team as early as the 2009–10 season, rising to international prominence during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.

He was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013, and he was named to the UEFA Team of the Year in 2013. He was also named PFA Young Player of the Year in 2013, as well as FWA Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season. Between 2011 and 2013, he was nominated for the PFA Team of the Year three times in a row.

Real Madrid

Source: Getty Images

Bale was transferred to Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee on September 1, 2013. Bale was instrumental in Real Madrid winning the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League in his debut season, scoring in both finals. He won the UEFA Super Cup the following season and scored in a third major final to help the club win the FIFA Club World Cup.

He was a key player in another Champions League run two years later, winning the 2015–16 title and being named to the UEFA Squad of the Season. He was also a finalist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award and was named man of the match in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final after scoring with an overhead kick.

International Career

Source: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Bale made his senior international debut for Wales in May 2006, making him the country’s youngest player at the time. He has since earned over 90 caps and scored 33 international goals, making him Wales’ all-time leading scorer.

He was the top scorer for Wales in their successful qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2016, scoring seven goals. Bale later represented Wales in the final tournament, scoring three goals as they reached the semi-finals.

He has won the Welsh Footballer of the Year award six times in a row. Bale was ranked twelfth on ESPN’s list of the world’s most famous athletes in 2016.

Records

Premier League Record

Appearances166
Goals53
Assists22

International Career Record

YearApps(GIs)
2005–2006Wales U177(1)
2006Wales U191(1)
2006–2008Wales U214(2)
2006–Wales96(33)

Personal life

Bale currently resides in Madrid with his high school sweetheart, Emma Rhys-Jones. Their first child, Alba Violet, was born on 21 October 2012 in Cardiff, and their second daughter, Nava Valentina, was born on 22 March 2016 in the same city.

Bale announced his engagement to Rhys-Jones on July 17, 2016, a day after his 27th birthday. Bale and his fiancée announced their third child’s birth on March 9, 2018. On May 8, that same year, the couple announced the birth of their son, Alex Charles.

Full NameGareth Frank Bale
Commonly known asGareth Bale
Date Of Birth16 July 1989
Age31
Height6′ 1″
Weight181 lbs
GirlfriendEmma Rhys-Jones
ChildrenAlba Violet, Nava Valentina, Alex Charles
Net Worth$145 million

Endorsement deals

Bale appears in EA Sports’ FIFA video game series, and he has appeared on the covers of FIFA 14 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Middle East, alongside global cover star Lionel Messi. FIFA 14 features his ‘heart’ goal celebration.

Charity

Bale took part in FIFA’s “11 against Ebola” campaign in November 2014, alongside a number of top football players from around the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Xavi, and African star Didier Drogba.

Bale and his wife Emma will donate £1 million to health boards in Wales and Spain in April 2020 to aid in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. He donated £15,000 for Christmas hampers in Swansea, Wales, in October 2020.

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