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Gareth Bale was linked with a move to Nottingham Forest a few months ago, but did you know he nearly joined them in 2009?
The five-time Champions League-winning, transfer record-smashing, Marc Batra-humiliating megastar was close to being tossed on Tottenham's scrapheap little over a year before his iconic slaying of Inter Milan at the San Siro.
Bale joined Tottenham from Southampton as a highly-rated teenager in 2007, but struggled for form and confidence playing second-fiddle to Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back, and according to ex-Tottenham team-mate Alan Hutton, he very nearly slipped through the cracks.
READ MORE: Gareth Bale at risk of missing World Cup as Wales star misses LAFC game with leg injury
"Gareth Bale had a difficult situation, he had all the talent in the world but just needed an arm round him from what I could see," Hutton said speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport, courtesy of Cheeky Punter.
"I think it was January and Assou-Ekotto was playing left-back, Bale's position at the time, and he got a call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations.
"Bale had to then step in and play, but prior to that there was word he was going to Nottingham Forest. I'm not sure if it was a loan or permanent but that says to me that [Tottenham manager] Harry [Redknapp] didn't fancy him.
Would Bale have still reached the top if Tottenham sold him to Nottingham Forest back in 2009? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
"But once he came into the side he used the opportunity to show his talent and the rest is history," Hutton added.
Bale shone after getting his first solid run in the side and was unleashed as a left winger once he started properly utilising his frightening pace and other-worldly ability in the final-third.
He helped Tottenham secure Champions League football for the first time in the club's history in 2010, and announced himself as football's next big thing by netting a stunning hattrick against European champions Inter a few months later.
He was crowned PFA Player of the Year in 2011, and again in 2013, before sealing a world record £86m move to Real Madrid. There, he hoovered up 16 major honours and scored over 100 goals, including iconic winners in the 2013 Copa del Rey final, the 2013 Champions League final and the 2018 Champions League final.
Though I'm sure Championship football at the City Ground would've been just as fulfilling. I hear Nottinghamshire has some beautiful golf courses…
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