Gareth Bale signs new 4-year contract at Tottenham
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 4:27p.m.
Gareth Bale signed a new four-year contract with Tottenham, tying the speedy winger to the London club until 2016 amid reported interest from leading European teams.
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for the Wales international, who has emerged as one of the English Premier League's standout players over the last two years.
His future at Tottenham had been in doubt after the team failed to qualify for next season's Champions League.
However, Bale said: "I love the club and the fans and I want to play my part in trying to get us back into the Champions League - where we belong."
Tottenham managed to keep hold of one of its two biggest assets, along with Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, despite not having a manager in place following the departure of Harry Redknapp this month.
Bale was named 2011 player of the year by his peers in the Premier League and also was included in UEFA's team of the year last year.
"The club is progressing and I want to be a part of that, so it was great to get the deal done," said Bale, who joined Tottenham from fellow English side Southampton in 2007.
"I'm still young (at) 22, still learning and this is the right place for me to keep progressing as a player."
By scoring nine goals, Bale played a key role in helping Spurs finish fourth in the league last season.
That would have been good enough for a place in the qualifying stage of the Champions League, only for the team to miss out on Europe's leading club competition after Chelsea won the trophy against all odds, beating Barcelona in the semifinals and Bayern Munich in the final.
That earned Chelsea England's fourth and final Champions League spot, along with Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
The Champions League was where Bale first drew the attention of a worldwide audience, with two dazzling displays in 2010-211 against defending champion Inter Milan in the group stage.
He has established himself as a winger, having started out as a left back, although he was sometimes used by Redknapp in a floating midfield role last season.
"Last season, I was getting double- and treble-marked on the wing, so I was able to come inside and score a few goals in more central areas," Bale said. "Now it's a case of mixing it all up and putting my whole game together.
"I'm looking at my all-round game, trying new things and trying to be the best player I can be."
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