Profiling the Sports Personality contenders: Gareth Bale

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BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016
Date: Sunday, 18 December. Venue: Genting Arena, Birmingham. Time: 18:40-21:00 GMT. Coverage: BBC One, Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website

We are showcasing each of the 16 contenders in the run-up to the Sports Personality of the Year award on 18 December. Today – Gareth Bale and Nicola Adams.

Gareth BaleAge: 27 Sport: Football

Year in a nutshell

Scored three times as Wales reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after qualifying for their first major tournament since 1958.

Bale, who joined Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013 for a then world-record fee of £85m, has helped the Spanish side win five trophies in the past three seasons, including the Champions League twice, in 2014 and 2016. 

He is on the shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award, and also made the top three for Uefa’s Best Player in Europe title, which was won by Cristiano Ronaldo.

How did he get here?

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Came to the attention of Southampton aged nine, when he was playing in a six-a-side tournament for Cardiff Civil Service juniors.

Also excelled at athletics and is said to have run the 100m in 11.4 seconds, aged 14.

After leaving school, where his GSCE grades included an A in PE, he broke into Southampton’s first team at left-back and a month later became Wales’ youngest international.

He moved to Spurs and, after an unwanted run of 24 league games without being on the winning side, he shone in a more attacking role, being voted PFA players’ player of the year in 2011 and 2013.

His performances for club and country led to him becoming the world’s most expensive footballer and completing a £85m move to Real Madrid.

Earlier this year, he broke Gary Lineker’s record to become the highest scoring British player in La Liga.

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What he said about Wales: “We have to be proud of ourselves. We have given everything on the pitch and off the pitch.”

What you say

Richard McCammond: “Bale’s got to win hasn’t he? UK & Ireland’s only world-class footballer. Welsh hero, Spurs hero, RM hero.”

Sophie Whatley: “The passion he has for his team and his fans is incredible, you will never understand his talent until you see him on that pitch,”

John Whardale: “Bale easy. Wales were sporting story of the year, weren’t they?”

Sports Personality record: Eighth, 2014. Fellow Welshman Ryan Giggs was the last footballer to win, in 2009.

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