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The world’s most expensive footballer with the less than lavish lifestyle: Gareth Bale signs record £86m deal… but still prefers a family meal to clubbing

September 2, 2013

Madrid confirm Bale has joined – ending the big saga of the summer
The fee is a world record £86m – beating the £80m Real paid for Ronaldo
But Wales winger Bale is said to be a man of less than lavish tastes
He is said to prefer nights in with his family than going out clubbing

He may have broken all records with his £86million move to Real Madrid, but Gareth Bale  – officially the world’s most expensive player – is a man of less than lavish tastes.

After negotiations that dragged on all summer, the Welshman has agreed a £256,000-a-week, six-year contract and will have a medical on Monday morning before being presented to the media.

But the quietly spoken father-of-one does not appear to have the thirst for the luxury trappings that his huge salary could afford him.

Instead, the 24-year-old winger prefers to ‘enjoy a meal with his family’  – more likely than not at his favourite chain restaurant Nando’s – than a night out clubbing.

He claims to have no celebrity phone numbers in his address book, and that he rarely receives female attention as he ‘rarely goes out’, The Times reports.

Bale – in a long term relationship with his childhood sweetheart Emma Rhys-Jones – was born in Cardiff to parents Frank, a caretaker, and Debbie, an operations manager.

It is perhaps this relatively humble upbringing which set the tone for his sensible attitude to money. In an interview with the Sun in 2010, he said his impending rise to stardom was unlikely to change him.

He said: ‘You obviously buy the cars you like but it’s not a long career. The most important thing is not to waste your money.’

His apparent shunning of the lavish lifestyle preferred by many superstar footballers is in stark contrast to that of his new teammate – and formerly the world’s most expensive player – Cristiano Ronaldo, who was signed for £80m in 2009.

Ronaldo, who has a supermodel partner, has dabbled in modelling and is often pictured enjoying the high life aboard a luxury yacht.

The only slight nod to vanity that Bale has made is reportedly having an operation to pin back his ears – and finally allow him to try a shorter hair cut.

He reportedly does now drive a Porsche – a sign that he is maybe beginning to embrace a more ‘traditional footballer’s lifestyle’.

But the man who once took his washing home to his mother when his own machine broke down appears to still have the humility which has earned him a legion of fans for his less than flamboyant attitude.

Upon arriving in Madrid late on Sunday night, he said: ‘I would like to thank everyone at the club, the chairman, board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.

‘I am not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career to date. I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams but I can honestly say this is my dream come true.

‘I would not be at the level I am today were it not for Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times. Tottenham will always be in my heart and I’m sure this will be a successful season for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life.’

He added on the club website: ”I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it’s the right time to say goodbye. We’ve had some special times together over the years and I’ve loved every minute of it.

‘I would like to thank everyone at the club, the chairman, board, staff, coaches and players – and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.’

Real erected a stage on the pitch ahead of the transfer last week, hoping to announce the star’s arrival, but were made to wait as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy played hardball. Bale will be unveiled at midday UK time.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, known as one of the toughest negotiators in the game, was reluctant to lose his star man and played hardball right until the end.

But he sent Bale on his way with his best wishes.

Levy said: ‘We had no intention of selling Gareth. But such has been the attention from Real Madrid and so great is Gareth’s desire to join them, that we have taken the view that the player will not be sufficiently committed to our campaign in the current season.

‘We have, therefore, with great reluctance, agreed to this sale and do so in the knowledge that we have an exceptionally strong squad to which we have added no fewer than seven top internationals. More importantly, we have an immense team spirit and a dressing room that is hungry for success.

‘We wish Gareth all the best in the future and he shall always be welcome at the Lane.’

Villas-Boas said: ‘He is going to join Real Madrid so we wish him all the best. The player is an absolutely wonderful player.

‘He has left us with some great memories from last season which every Tottenham fan cherishes, but he has moved on and we will move on as well.’

Bale joins a long list of illustrious players to have made big-money moves to the Bernabeu. Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have all been given the ‘Galactico’ moniker following their high-profile transfers to Real, but none of them have cost as much as Bale.


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