Bale has signed a six-year contract worth £187million at the Bernabeu to ensure he spends his prime wearing the club’s world-famous white shirt.
And the Welsh winger, 27, is seen as the superstar heir to Cristiano Ronaldo with thePortuguese’s powers and influence already on the wane.
But it hasn’t come easily for the former Spurs man who has, at different times, endured a rocky relationship with both the media and Ronaldo himself – only to emerge the other side with a handful of trophies, including two Champions League titles in three years.
“There have been a lot of great moments, in football there are always ups and downs.
“There have been bad moments, that always happens wherever you are, but the most important thing is how you react. It would be easy to pack up and leave and go elsewhere, but it takes more character to stay here, fight and make things work.
“It’s been difficult journey. It is difficult for British players to come to any European club.
“I’ve had difficult times and good times. It’s all a learning curve.
“I have grown as a person and enjoyed the experience. I am happy here and feel loved by the fans. I am going to try and win all the trophies I can. I always believe that if you keep working hard you will get your rewards.”
Bale has taken that same attitude towards the Ballon d’Or too.
The Welshman is considered among a crop of talented young players who will one day topple Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s hegemony when it comes to football’s leading individual prize.
But Bale, who is once again on the 30-man shortlist this year but not expected to make the podium, emphasised his lack of interest in the award and threw his weight behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s cause.
“A lot of players have had great seasons and I’m sure the voting will decide that. Cristiano has been incredible this year. For me, he’s had a fantastic season and I wish luck to everybody but obviously my teammate.