Gareth Bale becomes world's most expensive footballer: 11 other ways Real Madrid could've spent the £85.3m transfer fee

By Mike Janela

With the check now written, Real Madrid has acquired Gareth Bale for a record £85.3 million ($132.9 million) transfer fee, making him the most expensive footballer ever on a single transfer.

The fee for the Welsh international moves him past new teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, for whom Real doled out £80 million ($131.86 million) to Manchester United in 2009.

By now, we’re all a bit desensitized to the money involved in big-time sports, but this news did get us wondering just how much cash is actually being exchanged here.

And so, with his No. 11 shirt in mind, did you know that, for the same price Real Madrid paid to purchase Gareth Bale…

1.) You could have built two St. Mary’s Stadiums, the new park built in 2001 for Bale’s first professional club, Southampton? Price tag: £32 million/$48.37 million

2.) You could have assembled a footballing clone army to conquer the world by purchasing 8.5 million Willie Groves, the player who set the transfer record at £100 ($151) back in 1893? Price tag: £100/$151

3.) You could buy Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez 15.2 million Magic Wallets (buy one, get one free!) to store all his cash? The last five players to break the all-time single transfer fee record have all been paid by him for Los Blancos (Figo, Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldo, Bale). Price tag: £11.21/$16.95

4.) You could buy every ticket for the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil’s Maracanã Stadium, plus have enough left over for a few million Brahmas? Price tag: £291-655/$440-990

5.) You could lace up 16,676 youth sides with 550,322 pairs of the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX SG-Pro, the cleats made famous as Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal line? Price tag: £155/$235

6.) You could munch on 25.8 million boxes of Weetabix, Bale’s preferred pre-game snack? Price tag: £3.30/$4.99

7.) You could have closed on 214 of Tom Jones’ houses and thrown wild dragon costume house parties with the two Welsh superstars? Price tag: £397,500/$600,882

8.) You could have purchased the islands of Nauru and Tuvalu based on their GDP? Price tag: £72.1 million/$109 million

9.) You could employ every single player in Major League Soccer this season? Price tag: $79,039,971/£ 52,288,010

10.) You could fly roundtrip from Cardiff to Madrid every week for the next 177,708 weeks? Price tag: $725/£480 per flight.

11.) Or you could, of course, choose to spend it on one of the brightest young stars in the game, capable of doing things like this:

The on-pitch debates between Bale and Ronaldo over who should take each free kick will certainly be interesting. And there’s no price you can put on that.