Gareth Bale
Bale has refused to rule out a potential return to Tottenham.Getty Images/Denis Doyle

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale claimed he could yet return to Tottenham Hotspur at some stage in the future after admitting the club will "always have a place in my heart".

The Wales international joined Madrid for a reported world-record fee of £85m in the summer of 2013 and enjoyed a stellar first season, winning the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, scoring decisively in both finals.

But despite settling into life in La Liga, Bale has made the stunning revelation that he could yet return to Tottenham given his special relationship with the club.

"The fans have been unbelievable with me," Bale said. "They've supported me through the bad times and believed in me and I'll never forget the great European nights at White Hart Lane. They were amazing.

"Tottenham will always have a place in my heart. I hope the fans still love me even though I've moved on. I hope they understand that obviously Real Madrid is a massive, massive club and that they respect my decision.

"From the moment Real Madrid put the offer in it was obviously difficult. [Tottenham] was somewhere I felt so comfortable and so happy - it was difficult to leave but when Real Madrid come in it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I love all the Tottenham fans and hopefully one day, you never know, I could be back."

The news will come as a shock to many Spurs fans, who after seeing Bale join the club he idolised as a youngster had all but given up hope of seeing the 25-year-old return to north London.

Bale's impressive start to life at Real has been in stark contrast to the injury-ravaged start to his Spurs career, which saw him feature in 24 successive league matches without being on the winning side.

"In a way I probably was a little bit too soft," he added. "It's kind of surreal when you first come to Tottenham and you're there with all the big players.

"I moved there when I was 17 and when Harry came in I started to really grow up. I think he definitely helped me mature as a person and a player by giving me a kick up the arse now and again!

"I think every player needs it sometimes, especially when you're younger – you need to be put in your place and shown you need to work hard and he definitely did that. From that day I tried not to go down and not to play with my hair too much!"