Gareth Bale finally joins Real Madrid in record deal

Gareth Bale breaks the transfer record as he moves to Real Madrid for $132 million. Photo: Gareth Bale (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON, September 3, 2013 — The soccer transfer window has closed in Europe and we can now all take a deep breath. Finally, Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player after the Spanish giants paid a record $132 million for the Welshman from Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur. That dance had gone on way too long.

Madrid recouped a little money sending German midfielder Mesut Ozil to Arsenal for $64 million, a Premier League record signing. Manchester United seemed disorganized as the English champions signed Belgium ace midfielder Marouane Fellaini at the last minute but left it way too late to capture Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao. There were also reports that United failed to sign Wesley Sneijder from Turkish club Galatasaray.

SEE RELATED: Celtic placed in “Group of Death” in lucrative Champions League

Bale certainly has pressure on his shoulders as the most expensive player in the world. Real Madrid will be expected to win the title back from Barcelona and make a grab for the Champions League trophy. Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo playing on the two wings at Real will certainly put the fear in most defenders.

Samuel Eto’o arrives at Chelsea on a one-year deal which looks intriguing, but is the Cameroonian the same player who helped pull in 14 trophies in his time with Barcelona and Inter Milan?

According to FIFA, soccer’s governing body, there were 10,454 international transfers in 2013 from Jan. 1, 2013 to Sept. 2, with a record $3.36 billion - up 29 percent from 2012 - exchanging hands. At least 5018 soccer clubs, from 164 countries, filed transfer requests which were were processed by FIFA TMS. Declared commission paid to club intermediaries was up 20 percent to $169 million (in 2012 the figure was $141 million).

Most active transfer streams saw players move move from Portugal to Brazil (132 transfers) and Argentina to Chile (98). The streams with the highest total transfer compensation were from Spain to England ($227 million, 38 players), and from Italy to England ($148 million, 25 players).

John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.

Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon or email

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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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