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Tottenham fans excited by Bale returning to Spurs

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RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: EXTERIORS OF TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TRAINING GROUND AND TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR SUPPORTERS' SOUNDBITES ON GARETH BALE, FILE FOOTAGE OF TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TRAINING GROUND, FILE FOOTAGE OF GARETH BALE

SHOWS:

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 18, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. CARS ARRIVING AT TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TRAINING GROUND

2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FAN, MITCHEL FRY, SAYING:

"Yes, (I) definitely think top four this season. We're getting a lot of depth in our squad so I feel like with the players we've got, with the talent we've got I feel like definitely top four. So, yes definitely top four."

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FAN, KANE FRY, SAYING:

"It feels spectacular because Gareth Bale has been a legend to this club for so long and the memories that he brought us back in the time was so great and I don't think people actually realise what it means. He's a signing but he's a great signing and he 's going to bring so much to our team, like positivity, energy and love for the club. And when someone has that it just brings a dynamic to the team that we don't have. We don't have someone that can get on the pitch and go, 'No, we're going to win this game' and he's a game... he's a game changer."

4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FAN, ANTHONY COLLISON, SAYING:

"I'm quite shocked but very happy. We missed him when he left seven years ago. I feel pretty excited for him to come back and yes really, really happy."

5. SECURITY SPEAKING TO PERSON IN CAR AT ENTRANCE TO TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR'S TRAINING GROUND, MEMBER OF SECURITY CHECKING PERSON'S TEMPERATURE

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

6. ROAD SIGN, READING: "HOTSPUR WAY"

7. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR CLUB BADGE AT ENTRANCE TO TRAINING GROUND

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MAY 19, 2020) (UK POOL - ACCESS ALL)

8. AERIAL OF TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR'S TRAINING GROUND

9. AERIAL SHOWING ENTRANCE TO TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TRAINING GROUND

10. AERIAL SHOWING TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR CLUB BADGE ON EXTERIOR OF BUILDING

MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 2, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

11. VARIOUS OF GARETH BALE AND REAL MADRID PRESIDENT, FLORENTINO PEREZ POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS HOLDING REAL MADRID JERSEY

12. VARIOUS OF BALE POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS WITH RELATIVES

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MARCH 6, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

13. BALE KICKING A BALL AND THEN DRINKING FROM WATER BOTTLE DURING TOTTENHAM TRAINING SESSION

14. VARIOUS OF BALE TRAINING

MADRID, SPAIN (FILE - APRIL 4, 2011) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

15. SPURS TRAINING AT REAL MADRID'S BERNABEU STADIUM

16. VARIOUS OF BALE AT TRAINING SESSION

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - APRIL 13, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

17. BALE WALKS ON TO TRAINING PITCH

18. BALE TRAINING

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JULY 22, 2012) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

19. TOTTENHAM WINGER GARETH BALE TRAINING

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MARCH 8, 2011) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

20. SPURS TRAINING SESSION

21. VARIOUS OF BALE TRAINING

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - APRIL 12, 2011) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

22. TOTTENHAM LOGO

23. BALE AT TRAINING SESSION

STORY: Tottenham Hotspur supporters could not hide their excitement on Friday morning (September 18) as they waited for the arrival of Gareth Bale at the club's training ground in north London.

After seven silverware-laden years at Real Madrid, the Wales international is returning to Spurs on a season-long loan deal.

Bale scored vital strikes in Champions League finals against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool plus a career-defining Copa del Rey final winner against eternal rivals Barcelona among 105 goals and 68 assists in 251 games.

But with his departure all but confirmed, the media and fans are focusing on his eye-watering salary of 30 million euros ($35.39 million) per year, his injury record plus an apparent wavering attitude rather than his often brilliant performances on the pitch.

Common themes among Bale's critics are that he did not show the same commitment to the club as for Wales and that he did not aspire to be the team's leader after Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018.

A naturally shy character who rarely gave interviews or spoke Spanish in public, Bale never ingratiated himself to Madrid supporters, who have idolised larger-than-life figures such as the late Juanito and current captain Sergio Ramos.

In a somewhat absurd interpretation of the facts, Bale's fondness for playing golf in his spare time was taken as a sign he was not 100% committed to playing football, while he was also often blamed for his frequent injuries.

Bale did not always help himself though, from dancing with a fan's banner which celebrated his love for Wales and golf over Madrid last year, to looking bored and lethargic as he sat on the substitutes bench for the final matches of last season.

The Welshman's lowest point came in August when coach Zinedine Zidane said Bale had refused to travel with the team to their Champions League last-16 decider at Manchester City.

The sense of disappointment in Bale may be hard to grasp outside Spain given the goals he scored and the 13 trophies he helped win, including four Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey.

But it is perhaps understandable given the uniquely high standards at Real.

For all of his quality, Bale rarely stood a chance of being remembered as a hero at a club used to watching the best ever players, from greats of the past Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas to modern greats Zidane, Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo.

(Production: Ben Makori, Tim Hart)

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