Wales legend and former Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 33 following his maiden World Cup last year
Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from all football after his World Cup heartache with Wales.
The former Real Madrid winger confirmed the news in an emotional social media post on Monday, writing: “After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football. I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love
“It has truly given me some of the best moments of my life. The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.
“From my very first touch at Southampton to my last with LAFC and everything in between, shaped a club career that I have an immense pride and gratitude for. Playing for and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true.
“To show my gratitude to all of those that have played their part along this journey, feels like an impossibility. I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn’t have ever dreamed of when I first started out at 9 years old.
“To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally LAFC. All of my previous managers and coaches, back room staff, team mates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.
“My parents and my sister, without your dedication in those early days, without such a strong foundation, I wouldn’t be writing this statement right now, so thank you for putting me on this path and for your unwavering support.
“My wife and my children, your love and support has carried me through. Right beside me for all the highs and lows, keeping me grounded along the way. You inspire me to be better, and to make you proud.
“So, I move on with anticipation to the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new adventure…”
Bale ends his career less than two months after captaining Wales at their first World Cup since 1958. It proved to be an unsuccessful campaign in Qatar, as Bale and his team-mates finished bottom of their group with one point after defeats to Iran and England.
The loss to England proved to be the last of his 111 international caps, during which he scored 40 goals for his country. Bale represented Wales at three major tournaments, including their run to the semi-finals of the Euros in 2016.
At club level, Bale progressed through Southampton’s academy before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur, where he was converted from a full-back into a winger with devastating results.
His performances for Spurs earned him a then world record transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 for £86million. During his time in Spain, Bale won the Champions League five times as well as three league titles.
He also scored three Champions League final goals, including a memorable bicycle kick against Liverpool in Kyiv back in 2018. Overall, Bale scored 106 goals in 258 appearances for Los Blancos before departing last summer to join MLS franchise LAFC.