A talented defender, who shot to attention almost from his first match for his first club, Southampton, Bale was targeted by the top Premiership clubs before he had completed half a season, but Tottenham won the signature of the player, who showed great ability with his left foot.
Attended the Eglwys Newydd Primary School and Whitchurch High School in Cardiff. He was an all-round sportsman playing rugby, hockey and was a distance runner. At football, he helped his secondary school under-18 team to win the 2005 Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup. Spotted at the early age of eight by Southampton, Gareth trained at their academy at Bath, while he also played for the Cardiff Civil Service 5-a-side team, usually above his age group.
Making his debut for the Saints at the end of the 2005-06 season, he became the second youngest player for the club at 16 years and 275 days and made his Welsh Under-21 debut, shortly followed by his full debut as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago in the summer of 2006, when, aged 16 years and 315 days, he became the youngest Welsh international.
The left back made an immediate impact at the start of the 2006-07 season by scoring two stunning long range free-kicks and his marauding runs down the wing, added to his speed in recovering in defensive positions, made him an asset to the on-looking top flight clubs.
With his first full cap coming for Wales against Brazil at White Hart Lane in September 2006 and he became the youngest Welsh international goal-scorer with a strike against Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier on his home debut in Cardiff.
With Southampton being unable to break out of the Championship through the play-offs, Bale was seen as a way of bringing some money in with the club's parachute payments coming to an end and also allowing the player to gain valuable experience playing in a Premiership side. With Manchester United and Arsenal hovering, Tottenham made a £10 million offer in the January 2007 transfer window, which was knocked back and it looked like he was hanging on for a move to Old Trafford in the summer, but once more Spurs stole a march on the other clubs and snapped up the signing of the Welshman for an initial payment of £5-6 million, with conditional payments which could take the final pay-out up to £10 million for his four year deal.
However, with Southampton struggling to stay afloat financially in 2008, they cashed in on Tottenham buying out a 25% sell on clause in the deal for just £3 million and Tommy Forecast - the young Spurs keeper.
Started his Tottenham career well with a couple of goals and some good raising performances on the left side, but an injury picked up just before Christmas at Newcastle ruled him out for the majority of the rest of the season. Juande Ramos had just taken over when he got injured, then by the time he was ready to return to playing, Bale found that the Spaniard had gone and Harry Redknapp had taken over. Gareth got back into the side as the 2008-09 season was coming to it's close and continued his unfortunate record of not being on the winning side in a Spurs league game in his career to that date, even though he had won Cup matches while being in the team.
Injury hit as Wales were about to play a World Cup qualifier in June 2009, with cartilage damage being suffered when playing with his niece in the garden. His recovery saw him get a place back on the Spurs bench towards the end of 2009, having broken his duck of never being in a winning Tottenham Premier League team, when he came on as a sub in the 5-0 home win over Burnley.
His form at the end of that season was instrumental in Tottenham gaining fourth spot in the Premier League and Champions League football for the first time. His goals in the home London derby wins against Arsenal and Chelsea were the cherries on the cake and he took his impressive form into the start of 2010-11, with his stunning volley at Stoke winning the BBC TV Match of the Day's Goal of the Month for August and being named as the Welsh Football Association Player of the Year for 2009-10.
Some stunning performances in the Champions League, including his hat-trick at the San Siro v Internazionale and a fine game in the home meeting with the Champions League holders enhanced his reputation and Bale's year reached a peak with the awarding of the PFA Player of the Year for 2011 and coming second in the Sports Writers' Player of the Year.
His 2012-13 season was outstanding with some marvellous performances and even better goals, which led to him being voted as the PFA Player of the Year and also the Young Player of the Year too. This also attracted a particularly unsavoury interest from Real Madrid, who made public their desire to sign the player against all footballing ethics and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy played hardball with the La Liga side over this, making them cough up a world record fee of £86 million for the player, who left on a six year contract with the Madrid club.
After a period of time settling into the team, Gareth became a regular and linked into the side well, scoring the winning goal in the Spanish Cup final to help Real take the trophy and then scoring in the 4-1 Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid in extra time. Gareth also scored in the Club World Cup final against San Lorenzo of Argentina to gain a 2-0 win for Real in December 2014.
His second season at the Bernabeu was a little more unsettled, with injury and claims that he was not passing to Cristiano Ronaldo, which set some fans against him. This led to rumours of his impending departure and all summer 2015, he was linked with a move to Manchester United.