From Tottenham totem to Bale Madrid: The inside story of the biggest transfer in football history

Greg Stobart
Bale outperforms Messi in La Liga

Gareth Bale had to wait until the final afternoon of the summer transfer window before he was finally able to sit in the boardroom at the Santiago Bernabeu, sign his six-year contract and become the most expensive player in history.

The Welshman had earlier been introduced to his new supporters as he described his 100 million euro move from Tottenham as a "dream come true" against the backdrop of a picture of him in a Real Madrid shirt at the age of nine.

It marked the end of a long summer for Bale and the two clubs after his representatives, Stellar Group, were given a mandate in May to broker a deal from which their cut alone was worth around 11.5 million euros.

The Spanish giant's interest in Bale was long standing - the club had first tried to sign him for more than 30 million euros in 2011 - and president Florentino Perez decided to make English football's double player of the year his top target after losing out to Barcelona in the race for Neymar.

Despite Bale's oft-stated desire to one day play in Spain, Spurs had started the summer feeling confident of keeping their star man and even expected him to sign a new contract after he scored 26 goals for the club in the 2012-13 campaign.