2 September 2013
Last updated at 11:45
As Gareth Bale moves from Tottenham to Real Madrid for a world record £85 million deal, Newsround looks at the life of the determined Welsh schoolboy, who grew from a Championship left-back into one of the most fearsome attacking threats in Europe.
Gareth Frank Bale, born on 16 July 1989, attended Eglwys Newydd Primary School at Whitchurch, Wales. Who'd have known this fresh-faced youngster would one day be signed for £85 million?
Bale's naturally a left-footed player, and would easily score against his team mates. To improve skills with his right foot (and to give his friends a chance to play!) his PE teacher made a special set of rules for him, preventing him using his left foot and taking more than one touch.
On 17 April 2006, at the age of 16 years and 275 days, Bale became the second-youngest player ever to play for Southampton. Theo Walcott, the Arsenal and England winger, holds the record as the youngest - by 132 days.
Bale made his international debut for Wales on 27 May 2006. He first appeared as a substitute in a 2–1 win over Trinidad and Tobago, making him the youngest player ever to feature for Wales, aged just 16 years and 315 days.
On 25 May 2007, Bale signed a four-year deal with Tottenham, who paid an initial £5 million. He was later photographed with fellow new signings Younes Kaboul and Darren Bent. "I really want to play in the Premiership," Bale said at the time. "That's very important to me and this is a fantastic opportunity."
In December 2007, a tackle from Fabrice Muamba left Bale with ligament damage to his right ankle. It meant he couldn't play for the rest of the season - a low point for the star's career.
Bale had to work hard to secure a regular starting spot at Tottenham. But during the 2009-10 season he improved rapidly and scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 north London derby win over Arsenal in April.
Bale started to make an impact when, on 20 October 2010, he scored his first senior hat-trick - against European champions Inter Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League. Tottenham lost the match 4–3, but the match definitely brought Bale to everyone's attention.
In March 2011, Bale signed a new contract to remain at Tottenham until 2015. Later that year, the 21-year-old, having scored 11 times for his side over the season, was named player of the year by the Professional Footballers' Association.
Bale's Tottenham career sometimes saw controversy - he was accused of diving to win penalties and free-kicks. "People keep saying I'm diving," he admitted. "But if there's contact, it's not diving. Referees need to look more closely."
The 2012–13 season was a phenomenal one for Bale, who scored a total of 31 goals - including five for Wales. He was named Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.
In the close season Bale, aged 24, was repeatedly linked with a move to Spanish side Real Madrid. On 22 August, it is revealed that Tottenham and Real are in "advanced talks" over a transfer, but the deal wouldn't be signed until over a week later.
The official announcement that Gareth Bale had left Tottenham to join Real Madrid in a world record transfer deal worth £85m, came on Sunday 1 September. In a statement on Spurs' official website, Bale said: "I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it's the right time to say goodbye."