Gareth Bale is a Welsh footballer who plays for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the Wales national team as a winger.
Bale began his professional career at Southampton, playing at left back, earning acclaim as a free kick specialist. Since transferring to Spurs in 2007, managerial and tactical shifts have seen him transform into a more offensively-oriented player. Since the 2009–10 season, Bale has played an integral role in Tottenham's success domestically and in Europe.
On 25 May 2007, Bale signed a four-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur with Spurs paying an initial £5 million for Bale, potentially rising to £10 million based on appearances and success. However, Tottenham paid Southampton an early settlement payment of £2 million in 2008 to reduce the final fee to £7 million and allow the Saints the immediate cash that they desperately needed.
Bale played his first game for Spurs in a friendly against St. Patrick's Athletic on 12 July 2007, but was substituted on the 80th minute with a minor dead-leg. He made his competitive debut for Tottenham Hotspur on 26 August away against Manchester United. In just his second Spurs appearance, he scored his first goal for Tottenham in the 3–3 draw with Fulham on 1 September when he latched on toRobbie Keane's flick, charged down the left flank unopposed and coolly slotted past goalkeeper Antti Niemi.
After playing a record 24 Premier League games for Spurs without being on the winning side, Bale's first ever involvement in a Premier League victory came against Burnley on 26 September 2009 – more than two years after signing for Spurs – when he came on as an 85th minute substitute .
On 25 August, Bale set up all four goals to help Spurs overcome Young Boys 4–0 (6–3 agg.) in a Champions League play-off at White Hart Lane. Although Assou-Ekotto had already returned from injury, Bale continued his good form and cemented his place in the starting eleven, moving forward to left wing to accommodate Assou-Ekotto at left back. On 29 September 2010, Bale scored his first Champions League goal for Tottenham in a 4–1 home win against Dutch champions FC Twente in their second game of the group stages. In recognition, he was named Welsh Player of the Year by the FAW.On 20 October, Bale scored his first senior hat trick against European champions Internazionale at the San Siro in the Champions League.
Tottenham lost the match 4–3, having been 4–0 down inside the first 35 minutes and playing with ten men for over 80 minutes of the match after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had been sent off in the eighth minute for a professional foul on Inter's Jonathan Biabiany.
In the return match at White Hart Lane on 2 November, Bale provided a man of the match performance, setting up goals for Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko to earn Spurs a memorable 3–1 win.
For the 2012–13 season, Bale changed his squad number from 3 to number 11. He scored his first Premier League hat-trick in a 4–0 away win on Boxing Day against Aston Villa.
On 27 June 2012, Bale signed a new four-year contract, committing his future to the club until 2016.