Bale cements future at Real Madrid with contract extension
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 01, 2016 09:57 AM
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale leaves a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Monday Oct. 31, 2016. Bale has agreed to a contract extension with the club that will tie the Wales winger to the European champions through 2022. (AP Photo/Paul White)
MADRID (AP) — With his focus on winning more trophies, Gareth Bale signed a new deal Monday that ties him to Real Madrid until 2022.
The Wales forward inked the three-year contract extension at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Now 27, Bale will be two weeks short of 33 when his new deal runs out.
"I grew up watching the Premier League and Real Madrid, but when you have the opportunity to play here you cannot waste it," Bale said. "I'm only thinking about Real Madrid and I am very happy to be here."
Bale arrived in Spain with incredibly high expectations after Madrid broke its own record for transfers by paying Tottenham 101 million euros in 2013. That record stood until Manchester United shelled out 105 million euros for Paul Pogba in August.
While the team is still very much Cristiano Ronaldo's, Bale has become a reliable and often electric second scorer with a knack for netting key goals that have helped Madrid win two Champions League titles and one Copa del Rey.
Bale, who had been linked to rumors of a move back to the Premier League with Manchester United, said staying at Madrid was an easy choice.
"The most important thing is to concentrate on my football," Bale said. "I came to improve and I love it. I made the right decision. We've won two Champions Leagues, I want to keep winning titles and Real Madrid can offer that. The club is at the same level as my ambitions."
Bale added that while he continues to address the media in English, his Spanish is getting better as he settles in.
"I have improved my Spanish, my family is more integrated and I feel that the fans love me," he said. "The more time you spend more here, the more integrated you are, and all I do is try to help the team win as many titles as possible."