Gareth Bale insists that he has no regrets over his time at Real Madrid, explaining that the experience actually made him grow up as both a football and a person.
As the most expensive player in history at the time, Bale went on to win four Champions League titles with Real and had key or decisive roles in three of the finals.
But his relationship with the Spanish media was strained to the say the least, while he fell so badly out of favour with coach Zinedine Zidane that he played in just two of Real’s final 14 La Liga games of season en-route to wrestling the title back from Barcelona.
The 31-year-old has now re-joined former club Tottenham on loan, but doesn’t regret anything.
“I just try and play football, that’s all I can do and everything else that’s said externally is out of my control,” he told Sky Sports.
“As I said, I have no regrets of what I’ve done, whatever anyone else has said, that’s up to them. I know my opinion of myself and my family know exactly what I am, so that’s all I’m worried about.”
Bale was benched by Real last season | Xaume Olleros/Getty Images
Bale also described the impact of moving abroad to a ‘different culture’.
“I’ve had to grow up as a person, never mind a footballer. You just learn how to deal with the situations that you’re in. Obviously I’ve been in immense pressure situations. I’ve had people on the pitch whistling in the stadium to me,” the player explained.
“I’ve just learned how to deal with those type of things, to not take it to seriously, take it too much to heart, and just get on with it.”
Bale, now wearing the number nine shirt for Spurs, is yet to make his second debut for the club, having been ruled out of games against Southampton and Shkendija so far with a knee complaint.
He is expected to return to fitness by the time the next international break is over and could therefore feature when Spurs face West Ham in a London derby on the weekend of 17/18 October.