As Champions League medals, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale clearly illustrated why they’d left Tottenham – it was for unbelievable nights like they had just experienced in Lisbon. Of course life has been good for them in their time in Spain but on Saturday night they achieved their ultimate goal – success at the highest level possible.
In 2012 Luka Modric insisted that he should leave Tottenham in the summer transfer window with Real Madrid his destination. A year earlier, Spurs had blocked a move to Chelsea but this time the Croatian international was determined to leave White Hart Lane. It was a difficult start for Modric who after 5 months was voted the worst signing by Spanish fans. At the time I wrote a blog on Modric, ‘I’m a Croatian International – Why did I leave Tottenham?’ In the second half of that season Modric’s fortunes with Real turned around and so he was there last summer to welcome the next arrival from Tottenham – Gareth Bale.
Despite scoring on his debut, early injury issues meant that it took Bale time to settle and in mid-October when the Spanish press were questioning the amount of money that Real had paid to Tottenham, I drafted a few ideas for a blog similar to the one written about Modric twelve months earlier.
Before the blog could come to fruition, Bale’s season at Real Madrid took off and Spain was won over – 2 goals in a 7 – 3 win over Sevilla as the local press dubbed him ‘Canonito’. The rest is history with Bale’s amazing solo goal to win the Copa del Rey in April and Saturday evening’s crucial second goal to set Real on their way to a 10th European Cup success and Luka Modric and Gareth Bale can quite rightly say, “We’re Champions League winners – that’s why we left Tottenham!”
Now the Spanish media are hailing £86m Bale’s contribution to Real’s success as reported by the Daily Mail,
Marca wrote: ‘He has turned out to be a bargain; he is already a Real Madrid legend.’
Diario AS wrote: ‘Bale’s was the winner; it was game over after that.’
During the season in an interview reported by the Daily Mail, Bale spoke of the pressure that he always felt under at Tottenham where he was required to produce something special in every match to turn the game in Spurs’ favour. At Real, he is surrounded by world class players who are able to share that responsibility.
It was hard for Tottenham fans to accept the departure of their two star players, just as it had been when Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov left in similar circumstances.
Both Luka Modric and Gareth Bale left to better themselves, to play in the Champions League and be at a club where they would have the opportunity to win the highest awards and experience unforgettable nights like last Saturday.
After the game Gareth Bale commented, “It’s a dream come true’” and
The reason I joined Real Madrid was to play in these amazing matches. It’s hard to describe how I felt when the ball went in. It was an incredible feeling seeing all the fans behind that goal and all the players run towards me to celebrate.
Tottenham fans tweeted after the game, acknowledging that no-one could begrudge either player making that decision.