Gareth Frank Bale (born 16 July 1989) is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Renowned for his ball striking from distance, swervingfree kicks, and his ability to get past defenders with pace, 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”.
Bale playing for Wales in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Belgium in June 2015.
On 1 September 2013, Bale was transferred to Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee. Press at the time reported the transfer value at figures between €91million and €100million. In January 2016, documents pertaining to the transfer were leaked which confirmed a then-world record transfer fee of €100.8 million, eclipsing the previous record fee of £80 million (€94 million) for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. Bale played an integral role in his first season at Real Madrid, helping the club to win the 2013–14 Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League, scoring in both finals. The following season he won the UEFA Super Cup and scored in a third major final to help the club win the FIFA Club World Cup. Two years later, he was a key player in another Champions League run, winning the 2015–16 title and being elected to the UEFA Squad of the Season. In 2016, ESPN ranked Bale twelfth on its list of the world’s most famous athletes.
Bale made his senior international debut for Wales in May 2006, becoming the youngest player at that point to represent the nation. He has since earned over 60 caps and scored 25 international goals, making him Wales’ second-highest scorer of all time behind Ian Rush. He was the top goalscorer for Wales in their successful qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2016, scoring seven goals; he subsequently represented his nation in the final tournament as they reached the semi-finals.