This summer Eurosport is counting down the world's greatest footballers, as voted by our international network of journalists. We will reveal one player per day, culminating in the election of the first Ballon d'Eurosport on July 19.
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A reported fee of £80 million has been stuck on the Spurs attacking midfielder in recent times. That would seem like the accepted going rate for a figure some suggest is behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the world game's pecking order.
"As Real Madrid is a team of stars, Bale would fit perfectly," commented the Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. "He would give us a different dimension. He can shoot, has strength and speed and is the type of player who could help us take a step forward."
Bale, 23, won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year gongs after a stunning season in which he scored 26 goals in 44 outings for Andre Villas-Boas's team.
He suffered the disappointment of failing to help Tottenham qualify for the Champions League after finishing fifth in the Premier League, but AVB will hope Tottenham's biggest asset hangs around for another crack at it this season.
AVB has suggested his best position may be as a striker, but Bale seems as comfortable performing up front, out wide and coming from deep.
He continues to catch the eye for Wales, with a stunning winner coming in a two-goal haul against Scotland last October, but he will be deprived of appearing at the World Cup finals next summer (and perhaps for the rest of his career) due to the paucity of quality to be found in the rest of the squad.
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How Eurosport voted
We asked the editorial teams of 10 countries/areas around the Eurosport network to compile their list of the world's 25 best players.
Then we did the sums, Eurovision-style. It's simple: a first-place vote is worth 25 points, second place is 24... all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.
5-Robin van Persie