Tottenham have re-signed Wales forward Gareth Bale from Spanish champions Real Madrid on a season-long loan.
Bale, 31, left Spurs for a then world record £85m in 2013 and went on to score more than 100 goals and win four Champions Leagues with Real.
“It’s nice to be back. It’s such a special club to me. It’s where I made my name,” said Bale.
“Hopefully, now I can get some match fitness, get under way and really help the team and, hopefully, win trophies.”
Spurs said Bale has signed for them with a knee injury sustained playing for Wales earlier this month and they “anticipate that he will be match fit after October’s international break”.
That would mean the forward missing their next five games, with the club’s first outing following the international break at home to West Ham on 17 October.
‘I’m hungry and motivated’
Bale originally joined Tottenham as a 17-year-old from Southampton in 2007 for an initial payment of £5m.
“I always thought when I did leave that I would love to come back,” he added.
“I feel like it is a good fit. It’s a good time for me. I’m hungry and motivated. I want to do well for the team and can’t wait to get started.”
At Real, Bale has also won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three Uefa Super Cups and three Club World Cups.
“I think by going to Madrid, winning trophies and going far with the national team I feel like I have that kind of winning mentality, how to win trophies,” he said.
“You don’t realise it until you’re there and in those situations, in finals, how to kind of deal with the situation, the nerves, the pressure, and I think that all goes with experience.
“Hopefully I can bring that to the dressing room, bring a bit more belief to everybody that we can win a trophy, and the target is to do that this season, to be fighting on every front possible. I want to bring that mentality here, back to Tottenham.”
Bale remains the most expensive British player in history, as well as the top-scoring British player in La Liga – with 80 goals and 40 assists in 171 league appearances, averaging a goal or assist every 104 minutes.
However, a run of injuries, indifferent form and a deteriorating relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane had seen Bale become a marginal figure.
From the world’s most expensive signing to a player on the fringes
Real eclipsed the £80m they paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009 to take Bale to the Bernabeu, with the forward signing an initial £300,000-a-week, six-year contract.
He extended his stay with a new six-year deal in 2016, reported to be worth £600,000 a week – and £150m over its duration
– in salaries and bonuses.
The Welshman was hugely successful in his first few seasons at Real, scoring in the 2014 and 2018 Champions League finals, as well as the 2014 Copa del Rey final.
BBC Sport readers voted Bale as the best British export of the Premier League era earlier this year, his 42% share comfortably eclipsing former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid winger David Beckham’s 29%.
|Competition||Won by Bale with Real Madrid|
|Champions League||2014, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|La Liga||2016-17, 2019-20|
|Copa del Rey||2014|
|Uefa Super Cup||2014, 2016, 2017|
|Club World Cup||2014, 2017, 2018|
But, frustrated by a lack of playing time, Bale came close to a move to China last year before Real blocked it.
After celebrating Wales’ qualification for Euro 2020 with a banner reading “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that Order” in November, he received a backlash in Spain and was jeered by Real fans in his first game back for the club.
His relationship with Zidane deteriorated to the extent Bale asked not to travel with the squad for the Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Manchester City in August because he knew he had no chance of being involved.
He started just one match when the 2019-20 La Liga season resumed following the coronavirus shutdown and played only 100 minutes as Real won a first league title since 2017, and was conspicuously on the fringes of the team’s celebrations.