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Real banks on Bale's brilliance

By Agencies in Madrid | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-02 07:30

 Real banks on Bale's brilliance

Gareth Bale of Real Madrid celebrates scoring against Legia Warszawa in the UEFA Champions League at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Oct 18. [Photo/Agencies]

New six-year contract reinforces club's reliance on Welsh superstar

Gareth Bale's new six-year Real Madrid contract will see the Welshman reportedly rake in upwards of $126 million as the Spanish giant bets on Bale to lead another glorious era at Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale, who has won two Champions League titles in three years in Spain, has solidified his position as one of the highest earners in soccer alongside the likes of Real teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The explosive winger, 27, is set to take home as much as $100,000 a week after tax, according to British media, though figures vary wildly.

"That's for me to know and no one else to find out, sorry," said a smiling Bale when quizzed on his new salary.

However, Ronaldo looks set to retain his status as top dog of the pay packets at Bernabeu, with the Portuguese expected to become the next Madrid star to extend his deal in the coming weeks.

Real banks on Bale's brilliance

Real has already handed lucrative renewals to Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez to hold onto its key men with a one-year transfer ban imposed by FIFA to come over the next two windows.

Madrid and archrival Barcelona have embarked on a fleet of renewals to ward off interest from the cash-rich Premier League, backed by a $6 billion domestic TV deal.

Bale joined Real for a then-world record fee of just over $103 from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

That figure has since been eclipsed by Paul Pogba's $114 million move to Manchester United in August.

"It's Real Madrid, it is the biggest club in the world," Bale said, rejecting any notion he could return to England, where he was crowned Premier League Player of the Year for the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons.

"When an opportunity to play for Real Madrid comes up, you don't turn it down.

"I definitely made the right decision. Real matches all my ambitions. It's been three great seasons. I hope there are six more years like this. I feel very happy and loved here."

Madrid has topped the Deloitte Football Money League for the past 11 years as the highest earning club, but was overtaken last season by Barca.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed at the club's annual general meeting on Saturday that contract negotiations with Luis Suarez and Messi are also underway after Neymar recently extended his deal to 2021.

Ups and downs

Despite the desire to keep 31-year-old Ronaldo at Bernabeu for the rest of his career, Real president Florentino Perez has long believed Bale is the man to succeed Ronaldo as Real's best and most market-able player.

Bale has enjoyed and endured plenty of ups and downs in his three seasons in the Spanish capital.

Firing the winning goals in the 2014 Champions League and Copa del Rey finals made him an instant hit.

However, he suffered from stinging criticism and was jeered by Real fans towards the end of his second season as Madrid ended the campaign trophyless under Carlo Ancelotti.

Yet Perez's faith and belief for the future was only emboldened by Bale's sensational form towards the end of last season during a stretch when Ronaldo was a more peripheral figure due to a recurring knee injury.

"When I first arrived, I wanted to win trophies and succeed," Bale said. "I wanted to improve my football and my game. It has changed me as a person.

"I've experienced great moments. Winning the Champions League for this club is the pinnacle."

After his first season in Madrid, Bale was reported to be unsettled at the club and he was linked with a return to the Premier League.

"It has been a difficult journey," Bale said.

"It's difficult for British players to play for European clubs.

"It has been a learning curve, but I've enjoyed every experience.

"It takes more character to stay, to fight and find a way to make things work than to leave."

Bale led Madrid on a 12-game winning run to end the La Liga season to miss out on the title by just a point and to an 11th European Cup with a penalty shootout win over crosstown rival Atletico Madrid.

His performances in inspiring Wales to the Euro 2016 semifinals - its best run in a major finals - confirmed his status as one of the world's best.

A first appearance on the podium for the Ballon d'Or could follow after Bale was named among the 30 nominees for soccer's greatest individual award last week.

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