The £86million man - but who would have thought it back then
WHEN one of our photographers took this picture of a promising young footballer, few would have dreamed about the price-tag he would eventually command.
Gareth Bale was in action for Wales U21s in a game against Cyprus in 2006 at the time.
Photographer Gayle Marsh, who still works at the South Wales Evening Post took the photo.
“I don’t really remember taking it,” she said.
“We take so many photos of young footballers. You never know who’s going to go on to something special and who won’t quite make the big time.
“To think he’s gone on to be sold for £86million is quite amazing.
“But, who knows? I might take a picture of someone at the weekend who goes for even more money one day.”
Bale was presented to fans of Real Madrid on transfer deadline day on Monday having completed his move from Tottenham Hotspur.
He was selected by Wales at the end of the 2005–06 season and made his international debut on May 27, 2006.
He first appeared as a substitute in a 2–1 win over Trinidad and Tobago, making him the youngest player ever to play for Wales.
Bale, who was just 16 years and 315 days, assisted the winning goal scored by Robert Earnshaw.
Brian Flynn commented that Bale was potentially a future star of the game, comparing his technical ability to that of Ryan Giggs.
On October 7, 2006, Bale became the youngest player ever to score a goal for the full Welsh national team in the Euro 2008 qualification match against Slovakia with a trademark free kick.
He scored his second goal for Wales in a 3–0 win over San Marino on March 28, 2007.
Bale was eligible to play for England through his grandmother, but he stated in 2007 that: “It is an honour to play for Wales...Nobody ever got in touch with me personally from England, only through my agent.”