Gareth Bale reveals why he turned down Premier League giants to join Spurs

Gareth Bale may be a Tottenham Hotspur legend, but he could have ended up at Manchester United as a teenager instead. Luckily for Spurs, Bale opted to search out first-team opportunities rather than follow the money.

During his two spells at Tottenham, Gareth Bale scored 71 goals and contributed 58 assists in 236 appearances for the Lilywhites (Transfermarkt).

The Welshman joined Spurs from Southampton in 2007 as a 17-year-old left-back with lots to learn. He left the club in 2013 to join Real Madrid in a then world record £85m deal (BBC).

By that point, Bale had become an elite attacker. His blistering pace, formidable shooting ability, and penchant for flair made him one of the very best in the world.

And he improved further still after joining Madrid. Bale went on to win multiple trophies with the La Liga side, but never truly settled in Spain.

Bale later rejoined Tottenham on loan for the 2020/21 campaign, scoring 16 goals in 34 appearances for his former side (Transfermarkt).

Gareth Bale Ryan Mason
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Gareth Bale turned down Man United for Tottenham

His career path could have been very different, however, had Bale accepted an offer from Manchester United instead of Spurs.

He told The Sun: “I rejected Manchester United and went to Tottenham. At that time, United were the biggest team in the league, they were winning trophies, they had the biggest players, the best manager. The easiest decision would be to go to Man United and the biggest club.

“You always want to be at the biggest clubs but I took the approach that I wanted to be playing first-team football. At that age, a lot of players would go for the money and would want to go to a bigger club.

“But I was playing, developing and learning. It was an important part of my development to keep playing first-team football because you can’t replicate that.”

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He may not have had as much success at Spurs as his talent deserved, but he wouldn’t have been the player he became if it wasn’t for that developmental period at the club. I’m sure Bale wouldn’t trade his time at Tottenham for anything, especially considering how his career ultimately played out. 

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