Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale says he couldn't say no to Real Madrid, despite being happy at Tottenham

Gareth Bale has explained his decision to leave Tottenham as the winger prepares to make his debut for Real Madrid when the international break comes to an end.

Bale's move to the Spanish capital was played out over the entire summer transfer window, with the winger finally sealing a deal to head to Madrid for a record-breaking fee.

Bale and Tottenham have since been open about the pressures and frustrations facing both player and club as the transfer saga dragged out, but the Welshman, who is currently on international duty, says he was never going to be able to say no to a club which he had dreamed of playing for since he was a child.

"It's once in a lifetime and I don't think you can turn down a team like that," he told Sky Sports. "For me I want to be playing in the Champions League but also winning trophies. At a club like that they're out to win every trophy they're involved in. That's exactly what I want to do.

"When Real Madrid comes in it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I think if I didn't take it I would probably regret it for the rest of my life."

Bale's exit from Tottenham was certainly softened by the north London club splurging over the summer and buying a host of attacking players to make up for the star's absence. While Spurs fans had hoped that they would retain last season's top scorer, Bale's thirst for Champions League football was always clear.

The 24-year-old has said that Tottenham's Champions League campaign will remain at the forefront of his memories at the club, as they now aim for a top four finish this season without him.

"The fans have been absolutely unbelievable with me," he explained. "They've supported me through the bad times and believed in me. The nights they were cheering my name, I will never forget the great European nights at White Hart Lane.

"They were amazing and Tottenham will always have a place in my heart. I hope they understand Real Madrid is an absolute massive, massive club and they will understand and respect my decision."