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gareth bale

Bale was born in Cardiff, Wales, to parents Frank, a school caretaker, and Debbi
e, an operations manager;[13] he attended Eglwys Newydd Primary School at Whitch
urch.[14] He is the nephew of former Cardiff City footballer Chris Pike.[15] It
was while at this school he first came to the attention of Southampton at age ni
ne, when he was playing in a six-a-side tournament with his first club, Cardiff
Civil Service Football Club.[16] Growing up, his football hero was fellow Welshm
an and Manchester United player Ryan Giggs.[17]
Bale attended Whitchurch High School in Cardiff.[18] He was a keen athlete and p
layed football alongside future Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton,[19] rugby, ho
ckey and excelled at athletics.[20] As a 14-year-old he says that he ran the 100
metre sprint in 11.4 seconds.[17] Because of his superior footballing skill, th
e school's PE teacher, Gwyn Morris, had to write special rules which restricted
Bale to playing one-touch football and not using his left foot.[19] Whilst at Wh
itchurch, Bale trained at Southampton's satellite academy in Bath, although ther
e was initially some doubt if Southampton would give him a scholarship due to hi
s height.[13]
Despite being only 16 at the time, he helped the school's under-18 side win the
Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup. He left school in the summer of 2005 with a Grade A i
n PE amongst his other GCSE results. In his final year at school, he was awarded
the PE department's prize for services to sport. In the presentation, Morris co
mmented:
"Gareth has a fierce determination to succeed and has the character and qualitie
s to achieve his personal goals. He is one of the most unselfish individuals tha
t I have had the pleasure to help educate."[21]
Bale lives in Madrid with his partner Emma Rhys-Jones, his high school sweethear
t.[22] Their first child, born at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff on 2
1 October 2012[23] was named Alba Violet.[24]
Club career
Southampton
On 17 April 2006, at the age of 16 years and 275 days, Bale became the second yo
ungest player ever to play for Southampton (after Theo Walcott, who was 132 days
younger) when he made his debut in the Saints' 2 0 victory against Millwall. On 6
August, Bale scored his first league goal, a free kick, to level the score at 1 1
against Derby County. The final score at Pride Park was 2 2.[25]
He scored again, at St. Mary's, against Coventry City[26] in the team's second g
ame of the 2006 07 season with another free kick. Bale further developed his reput
ation as a free kick specialist when he struck the post from one against West Br
omwich Albion.[27] By 16 December 2006, Bale's goal count had risen to five, tha
nks to a late equaliser against Sunderland[28] and free-kicks away to Hull[29] a
nd at home to Norwich City.
In December 2006, he won the Carwyn James Award for the BBC Wales Young Sports P
ersonality of the Year,[30] and was named the Football League Young Player of th
e Year on 4 March 2007.[31] This capped what was described in the local press as
an "incredible" first full season as a professional footballer in which he was
one of the Saints' "most creative players even (though operating) from the leftback position whilst his defending improved immeasurably as the season progresse
d."[32]
His final game for Southampton was in the first leg of the Championship play-off
semi-final against Derby County on 12 May 2007. Bale suffered an injury during
the second half, preventing him from appearing in the second leg.[33][34] In tot

al, he made 45 appearances for Southampton, scoring 5 goals.

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