Bale confident he can handle the weight of expectations at Real Madrid
Welsh star eager to get started at new teamas they chase a 10th European Cup success
Agencies in Madrid
Gareth Bale claims he won't be overcome by the pressure of his massive price tag after being officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player in front of 20,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeu yesterday.
Bale's prolonged transfer from Tottenham Hotspur was finally completed on Sunday evening with contrasting reports over whether he had become the most expensive player in the history of the game.
The English media reported Bale's transfer had broken the record Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago at €100 million (HK$1 billion), whilst in Spain reports citing Real Madrid sources claimed the deal was concluded for €91 million, three million less than Ronaldo.
And whilst Bale refused to clarify the situation, he said he was more focused on living up to the standards he sets himself.
"I wanted to come here even if it was for a penny," he told a packed press conference.
"I don't think any player really knows their price tag. It is something between the two clubs and not really my place to say.
"The pressure is just as much pressure as I put on myself. I have come here to play the best football I can and I'm going to give 100 per cent and try to help the team to win things."
There has been much conjecture as to how Ronaldo and Bale will co-exist both on and off the field. However, the Welshman reiterated his belief that it is the Portuguese who remains the better player and more senior figure at the club.
"Ronaldo is the boss here, he's the main player and the best player in the world so I want to learn off him. It will be a honour to play with him. I think we'll have a great team and I hope we win a lot of trophies together."
The 24-year-old arrived in the Spanish capital on Sunday night before undergoing a medical yesterday morning, which he passed without any problems despite not having played since mid-July due to an apparent foot injury.
"The truth is that he has arrived in excellent physical condition and is at the disposition of the coaching team for use whenever they think it is convenient," Dr Carlos Diez, head of Madrid's medical team, said. "His physical condition. He has come to the club marvellously in this sense and I think he is going to take advantage of that very well."
Bale was to fly back to the UK to meet up with the Wales squad last night ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia in the coming week.
And he is hoping the match practice gained in those matches will mean he will be ready to make his debut when Real travel to Villarreal on September 14.
"It's well known I had a slight injury which took me a bit of time to get over, but I always wanted to be here in the white shirt of Madrid and hopefully I can get match time with Wales and come back fit. I feel like I am in good shape. I need to take it step by step but I hope to be involved in the Villarreal game."
Earlier, Bale had delighted the adoring fans by greeting them in Spanish and took to the pitch in his number 11 Real shirt for the firs time to fire some balls into the crowd.
He told fans signing for the club was "a dream come true" and he hoped to help them win the "decima", or 10th European title.
And club president Florentino Perez also handed a warm welcome to his latest star signing by lauding the qualities that led Bale to being crowned players' and football writers' player of the year in England last season.
"We are in this temple of Real Madrid to incorporate a new man who knows very clearly what are the values of this club," Perez said. "A man who has been chosen as the best player in the Premier League last season. A young footballer but with great qualities, committed to the sport and whose dream has been to be a Real Madrid player.
"Gareth you are going to help us to make the legend of this club even greater and stronger. This is your stadium, your shirt, your badge and your fans. From today this is your home."
Agence France-Presse, Reuters