Gareth Bale to Real Madrid – a deal that will make him the most expensive football transfer in the world, not to mention put him in a team of superstars who are expected to win 38 games out of 38 each season.
But that’s not what the Tottenham star will have to worry about the most. In fact the biggest challenge to Bale settling into Madrid could be how he deals with life in Spain and more importantly, how he deals with the Spanish press.
Mark Hughes, a fellow Welshman and someone who made a similar move (from Manchester United to Barcelona) 27 years ago thinks Bale should dive in with both feet and fully embrace the Spanish language and culture, which is sound advice for anyone moving to a new country.
But the key for Bale would be to make sure that he keeps the Madrid press on his side, and that would mean putting Real Madrid first. We’ve seen what has happened with Ronaldo and Mourinho whenever they’ve said or done something that been perceived as a slight to Madrid’s institutions, even they were right all along.
Eventually though, it will be his on-pitch performances that matter the most. He won’t get the time he had at Spurs to ‘bed in’. An instant impact will be needed, as much for Madrid’s chances of success this season as for his own long-term future at the club.
Mark Hughes: Gareth Bale must embrace Spain (video)