Gareth Bale has revealed the stress he felt as his protracted transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid eventually neared completion. The summer transfer window was dominated by talk of the nine-time European champions making a bid for the Welshman but the deal was not completed until the day before the window closed as Real got their man in a world-record 100 million euros deal.
There were many times that the move was seemingly on the verge of collapse as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy tried to get the best deal for his club and Bale admits it was a stressful time. "It was a long time. It was very stressful to say the least," Bale told BT Sport.
"I knew their interest from the start and I was always confident the move would go through but obviously the chairman Daniel Levy had to do his business and do Tottenham well so I kind of understood that. "But at the same time, thinking of myself, it was a hard time, it was stressful and I just had to be patient and try to focus."
Meanwhile, Real's decision to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal has sparked an uproar from the Spanish club's most senior players. Cristiano Ronaldo was quoted in Diario AS yesterday as -having told Portuguese team-mates that he was "angry" with the sale of the player who "best knows his movements on the pitch". Bale's arrival is already having its effect off the pitch, with broadcaster MediaPro likely to move the kick-off time of his first Clasico on Oct 27 to midday, to target the Asian market.
But on the field, the positives of his arrival have been overshadowed by it forcing the sale of the popular Ozil. At Spain's Las Rozas training camp, -Sergio Ramos said Ozil was the "last player" he would sell if it had been up to him. There was similar discontent from France international Karim Benzema and from German team-mate Sami Khedira. However, it is Ronaldo's mood that will most concern Madrid. Ozil was the Portuguese's greatest ally on the pitch. Nobody has contributed more assists to Ronaldo's 202 goals in 202 appearances.
Ozil got on well both with the Portuguese contingent and with the Spanish players and his exit will make Bale's introduction on Sept 11, when he returns from international duty with Wales, more difficult. Ronaldo avoided welcoming Bale in July when he said: "I have my opinion, but I am not going to share it."
Jorge Valdano, Real Madrid's former sporting director under Jose Mourinho, said last week that he would prefer Ozil to Bale, while Germany coach Joachim Low said yesterday: "It's hard for me to understand why Real Madrid have let him go."