CAA Stellar - CAA Stellar is a world-leading sports agency.
CAA Stellar - CAA Stellar is a world-leading sports agency.


Gareth Bale: the boy from Wales who became a world beater

Published: April 1, 2024

No one can tell the future, but when Jonathan Barnett and David Manasseh met Gareth Bale for the first time, they knew they were about to sign someone very special.

The boy from Cardiff had impressed as an amateur player (so much so his P.E teacher introduced special rules that restricted Gareth to one-touch football) and had caught the eye of scouts from Southampton. He would go on to become one of the greatest and most richly rewarded sportsmen in the world.

“I can remember meeting Gareth and his family for the first time when he was just 16,” says Jonathan. “We had heard good reports about his talent, but we instantly knew he could be something extra special. It has been said that no one dreamed Gareth would go so far but Gareth and his family had that dream and so did we. 

“Our focus from the start was making these dreams come true. I think it is fair to say they did!”

Gareth made his professional debut for Southampton in 2006, the then second-youngest player to play for the first team (his record was later beaten by another CAA Stellar client, Luke Shaw).

In 2007, Stellar negotiated Gareth’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur for £7 million, a club in which his awesome potential was realised, switching from a left-back to left wing position and becoming one of Spurs all-time greats.

In 2013, with the accolades piling up, Real Madrid approached Spurs with a view to signing the Welsh Galactico. The colossal deal, worth more than £85million, was a world record at the time

“It was a long, hard negotiation but at the end of it all, when the final signature went on the final page, I felt an enormous sense of elation for Gareth and his family,” says David.

It was at Madrid that the world saw the very best of Gareth Bale. During his time with Los Merengues he won three La Liga and five Champions League titles, including scoring two goals in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool, one of which was a stunning overhead kick that may well go down as the greatest CL final goal in history.

The other side of Gareth’s footballing story involves his passion for playing for the Wales. Easily the greatest player to ever pull on the famous red jersey, Gareth scored a record 40  goals for his country, leading Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 (their best-ever performance in a major tournament) and making history by captaining the Dragons in their first World Cup appearance in 2022.

Jonathan said: “Gareth is a fanatical Welshman. Despite everything he has won I think he will feel going to the World Cup with Wales was the crowning glory.

“From the first day I met him and his father, he said to us how special Wales was. When we spoke to him, he had the possibility to play for England. He said, "Never say that again if you want to be my agent!"

After a loan spell back at Spurs, during which he scored 11 times, including his 200th senior goal, Gareth made a final move to LA Galaxy, deciding after the World Cup to call time on his amazing club and international career at the age of 33.

CAA Stellar’s Managing Director Joshua Barnett, who personally represented Gareth over the years and became one of his closest friends, said: “From lighting up the Premier League and bringing fans to the edge of their seats, to his Champions League exploits and winning it all in Spain. Gareth has given us some incredible moments that will live forever in the world of football.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to have represented Gareth, along with my father Jonathan and partner David throughout his footballing journey. His long list of achievements will see his name go down in the history books as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game and the greatest British player of all time.”

The final word goes to the boy from Cardiff himself.

Gareth said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love. It has truly given me some of the best moments of my life. From my very first touch at Southampton to my last with LAFC and everything in between, shaped a club career that I have an immense pride and gratitude for. Playing for and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true.”



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