Gareth Bale joined Real Madrid following his transfer from Tottenham. As this gallery shows, Real is not averse to splashing the cash.
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Luis Figo —
In arguably his boldest transfer move, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez broke the world transfer record to sign Luis Figo from archrivals Barcelona in 2000. The capture of Figo ushered in the era of the "Galacticos" and was symptomatic of the high spending which has characterized both of Perez's terms as Real president.
Zinedine Zidane —
The fee Real paid for French world and European champion Zinedine Zidane in July 2001 eclipsed the one forked out for Figo one year earlier. Following his transfer from Juventus, Zidane went on to score what is widely regarded as one of the finest goals in history as Real beat Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League.
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Prolific Brazil striker Ronaldo was brought in from Inter Milan. He went on to score 83 goals in 127 games for Real.
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David Beckham —
Football star and fashion icon David Beckham swapped Manchester United for Real in 2003. After four years in the Spanish capital, Beckham headed to the United States, joining the Los Angeles Galaxy.
BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 6: David Beckham of Real Madrid gets set for a throw in as he is closely watched by the media during the Spanish Primera Liga match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Nou Camp Stadium on December 6, 2003 in Barcelona, Spain.
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Michael Owen —
Beckham's compatriot Michael Owen followed him to Madrid in 2004. Owen was signed from Liverpool but headed back to England just one year later to sign for Newcastle United.
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The transfer record was shattered once again in 2009 when Real snared Brazilian playmaker Kaka from AC Milan.
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Cristiano Ronaldo —
Just three weeks later, Real once again set a new benchmark for a football transfer fee. Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real from Manchester United on June 26, 2009 for a reported fee of $120 million. Ronaldo has been the poster boy of Perez's second spell as president.
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Karim Benzema —
France striker Karim Benzema was a big-money recruit from Lyon and was signed in the same transfer window as Kaka and Ronaldo.
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Mesut Ozil —
German playmaker Mesut Ozil joined Real from Werder Bremen in 2010. However, Bale's arrival signaled the end of Ozil's time at the Bernabeu and he joined Spurs' rivals Arsenal on transfer deadline day.
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Luka Modric —
Real negotiated with Tottenham in 2012, eventually convincing the London to part with Croatia midfielder Luka Modric for $50 million.
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Frustrating Florentino —
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy had held off Real's advances for Modric until late in the summer 2012 transfer window, and he again made the Spanish side wait for Bale while he strengthened his squad with several big-money buys.