Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has attributed his early struggles in Spain to the manner in which chairman Daniel Levy delayed his departure from Tottenham Hotspur.
Bale missed all-but one of Spurs' pre-season fixtures and didn't feature during the start of the campaign before completing his move to the Spanish capital on the penultimate day of the summer transfer window for a world record £85m.
Amid fitness and injury concerns Bale struggled to make an impact at the start of his Real career since joining from Tottenham, making just five appearances in the first two months in Madrid, leading to accusations of being overrated.
And the 24 year old says Tottenham's attempts to garner a big fee from Real led to him lacking significant match fitness ahead of joining Real.
"Oh, massively [the delay impacted on his form],'' Bale said. "I didn't realise how important a pre-season was until I came to Madrid. It took a little while for me to get going which I think everyone understood.
"I was able to really kick on after Christmas, get my fitness up and play well.
"I do think of the journey and I do think it is great to have come this far but I also want to live in the here and now and not get carried away. I'm not the sort of person who tends to look back, really."
However, since dusting off the cobwebs since moving from Tottenham, Bale has excelled with Real, scoring 20 goals this season including the winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, a goal which has earned his hero status in Madrid.
"I need to keep my feet on the ground," the Wales international added. "It is nice to hear what other people say but I just want to play football and win as many trophies as I can and enjoy playing with the best in the world. That is what I have been doing so far.
"I try not to think about it [the fee]. I came to Madrid to play football and I'm enjoying that. If I think about that and nothing else then I know I'll play well. Yes, I'm happy."
Though Madrid trail Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race, the two city rivals face each in the Champions League final on 24 May with Bale aiming to claim a second major trophy in his maiden season.