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Bale returns for Wales duty

Not even the appearance of Gareth Bale could save Chris Coleman's side as they slumped to the bottom of World Cup qualifying Group A with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Serbia.

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The Gareth Bale story - including 24 games without win

Gareth Bale may have been seen as one of British football's hottest properties since he burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old, but it has not always been plain sailing.

After he joined Spurs, playing then as a left-back, the club failed to win any of the first 24 Premier League games he appeared in - leading people to talk about 'The curse of Gareth Bale.'

The run was finally ended in September 2009 against Burnley - and he's since gone on to star, mainly as a left winger.

Here's his factfile:

  • Bale was a trainee at Southampton, making his debut as a 16-year-old in April 2006
  • He then played for Wales for the first time just six weeks later
  • Tottenham paid Southampton £5m - rising to £10m - to sign him in May 2007
  • Spurs didn't register a single win in his first 24 Premier League appearances
  • In October 2010, he scored a hat-trick against Inter Milan in the Champions League
  • He was named as the PFA's Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season
  • In April 2013, he won the PFA senior and young Player of the Year award

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