Gareth Bale: "This is my dream come true"

Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale in action during a friendly match against Swindon on July 16, 2013
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Gareth Bale says that he is living a boyhood dream as he prepares to sign on the dotted line for Real Madrid.

Gareth Bale has thanked Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur for standing by him on his path to becoming the world's most expensive footballer.

The 24-year-old winger, who is on the verge of completing a reported £85.3m switch to Real Madrid from Tottenham, said that joining the nine-time European champions is a "dream come true".

"I would like to thank everyone at the club - the chairman, board, staff and players - and most of all the fantastic fans, who I hope understand this amazing career opportunity," read a statement from the Welshman.

"I'm not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career to date. I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams, but I can honestly say, this is my dream come true.

"I am well aware that I would not be at the level I am today were it not for firstly Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times and affording me the environment and support they have.

"Tottenham will always be in my heart and I'm sure that this season will be a successful one for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid."

The Welsh international arrived at White Hart Lane from St Mary's Stadium in 2007 for an initial fee of £5m.

Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale celebrates scoring his late winning goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland on May 19, 2013
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