After over two months of speculation and negotiation, Real Madrid confirmed they have agreed to sign the Wales forward for a fee understood to be €100m - £85.3m on the current exchange rate. Bale will today sign a six-year contract at the Spanish club - provided he passes a medical - and will then be presented at the Bernabeu at a lunchtime press conference.
The 24-year-old, who scored 31 goals for club and country last season, admits he could not afford to turn down the chance of playing for the nine-time European champions. "I have had six very happy years at Tottenham but it's the right time to say goodbye," Bale said. "We've had some special times together over the years and I've loved every minute of it. I would like to thank everyone at the club - the chairman, board, staff, coaches and players - and most of all the fantastic fans who I hope will understand this amazing career opportunity.
"I am not sure there is ever a good time to leave a club where I felt settled and was playing the best football of my career. I know many players talk of their desire to join the club of their boyhood dreams, but I can honestly say, this is my dream come true.
"I am well aware that I would not be at the level I am today were it not for firstly Southampton and then Spurs standing by me during some of the tougher times and affording me the environment and support they have. Tottenham will always be in my heart and I'm sure that this season will be a successful one for them. I am now looking forward to the next exciting chapter in my life, playing football for Real Madrid."
Andre Villas-Boas praised the Welshman following his side's 1-0 defeat by Arsenal. "The player is an absolutely wonderful player," the Tottenham Hotspur manager said. "We wish him all the best. He has left us with some great memories from last season which every Tottenham fan cherishes, but he has moved on and we will move on as well."
Bale alerted the top clubs in Europe to his potential in the 2010-11 season with a pair of outstanding performances for Tottenham against Internazionale in the Champions League. Despite interest from Inter, Bale signed a new contract with Tottenham in November 2011 and, following another successful season, he was rewarded with an improved contract in the summer of 2012.
However, it was only last season that Bale underlined his status as one of the best footballers on the planet. Then new coach Villas-Boas moved Bale from the left flank into the centre and the move paid off as he enjoyed comfortably the best season of his career, finding the net 31 times, including in international games.
Bale joined from Southampton seven years ago, with the skinny, lanky teenager costing £6m. It took some time for success to arrive, as Bale played in a record 24 league matches for the north London club without being on the winning side. But after being named player of the season in England last year, it became evident that Tottenham's failure to qualify for the Champions League meant Bale's time at Tottenham was drawing to a close.
Chairman Daniel Levy has spent the money from Bale's departure in advance - with Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Christian Eriksen and Vlad Chiriches all joining Tottenham in a summer spending bill of more than £100m.