Former Real Madrid striker Michael Owen believes Gareth Bale would make a seamless switch into Spanish football should he seal his expected move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid.
The Welsh winger has been the subject of a summer-long transfer saga involving the La Liga giants, who are believed to be closing in on the Spurs star for a world record fee in the region of £90 million.
Bale lit up the Premier League last season, scoring 21 league goals as he collected the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.
Owen spent the 2004/05 campaign at Santiago Bernabeu after leaving Liverpool for £8 million, netting 13 goals in 35 La Liga outings, including one against Barcelona.
The striker-turned-commentator with BT Sport is confident Bale would have no trouble adjusting to new surroundings on the pitch, but he advised the 24-year-old to prepare well for life off it and settle down as quickly as possible.
I would definitely go for it. It’s a magical club
Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo, Owen said: "From a football point of view it won’t be a huge difference. Football nowadays is a worldwide sport. Back when I started, if you were playing in a European game it was almost like you were playing a different sport.
"Now there are so many foreign players in every league it’s all merged into one, so I don’t think he’ll struggle from a football point of view.
"If I was to give him one bit of advice it would be off the pitch: prepare well for it. Get his agent or his people who need to be around him to find a house as soon as possible and settle in. I know he’s got one child, exactly the same as me when I went, and I don’t think I had the ideal preparation. My family found it difficult to settle in. You’re occupied playing football so for them it’s even more difficult."
Owen's Spanish experience only lasted a year before he returned home to play for Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old still feels Bale should jump at the chance to join the nine-time European Cup winners if the chance presents itself.
"I would definitely go for it. I think it’s a magical club," he said. "To say you’ve played for Real Madrid with all the greats that have played for them… if he’s got the opportunity I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to take it.”comments