Gareth Bale has revealed which manager made him the player he is today.
Bale left Tottenham in 2013 for a world record £85.3 million transfer fee, joining Spanish giants Real Madrid.
His first season in Spain was rewarded with the Champions League trophy - in which he netted in the Final - and the Copa del Rey trophy - in which he also netted in the Final - and 15 goals in just 27 La Liga games, as he repaid a large portion of his transfer fee.
The current season has started in much the same manner, with the UEFA Super Cup under his belt, and five goals in eight league appearances so far. Considered as one of the best in the world, he is in the running for the 2014 Ballon d’Or, and he is surely a contender for football’s biggest individual prize in the coming years.
However, his career has not always followed the same path, and the record 24 Premier League games without a victory with Bale in the side at Tottenham has become an English legend. By the time of the 25-year-old’s first victory at White Hart Lane, he was on to his third manager, and one who kick-started the progression which has made him the player he is today.
“He was the one who started the ball rolling. If I didn’t get that kick I wouldn’t be where I am now. It happens with young players, but I needed that kick.”
Despite the praising of Redknapp, the Welshman considers his successor to be the real reason for his move to Real Madrid, and the success he has enjoyed since making the switch to an attacking free-role who became the lynchpin of Spurs' starting XI.
“I said at the beginning of that 2012/2013 season that I felt I could go up a level and was frustrated by being double-marked every game on the left-wing,” the forward continued.
“Andre Villas-Boas had just joined and we had this big chat. We decided to give me that free role where I was able to wander and find space.
“That was it, then. As soon as we did it, I started playing better and scoring more goals, the team began winning more games and it had a snowball effect. My confidence was sky-high.”
It was the 2012/13 season that truly established Bale’s reputation in world football, as he netted 21 Premier League goals in 33 games, and earned the move to Spain which has been nothing but a triumph.