Gareth Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and Wale’s most-capped male player has announced his decision to retire from football.
Bale, who is also Wale’s record men’s goal scorer made the announcement on Monday in a statement posted on his social channels.
“After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football,” Bale wrote.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love.”
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023
Cardiff-born Bale, just 33 years-old brings an end to a career that saw him excel for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid and LAFC, while also establishing himself as one of the greatest players in Welsh football history.
Bale led his country to the 2016 where they got to the semi-finals, and 2020 European Championships and crowned it with a Welsh participation at the their first World Cup since 1958 at Qatar 2022. He ends his International football career with 41 goals in 111 appearances.
At club level, Bale started his professional career at Southampton, and his form there earned him a move to Tottenham in May 2007. He joined Spurs as a left-back but was soon shifted to a position on the left of Tottenham’s attacking line, and he then established himself as one of the best players in the world.
He won an array of individual awards for his performances at the Premier League team, and in September 2013, Madrid signed Bale on a six-year deal for a then-world-record fee of €100 million.
In Spain, Bale won three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and five Champions Leagues (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022). Although he was frozen out in the latter stages of his Madrid contract, he contributed some historic moments for Los Blancos, including his stunning overhead kick in their 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.
As he was frozen out the Madrid squad towards the end of Madrid career, Bale returned to Tottenham on loan for the 2020-21 campaign.
Gareth Bale returned to Madrid for one final season, before leaving in June 2022 at the end of his contract and signed a 12-month deal with LAFC in USA.
He made 14 appearances in the States, and his greatest contribution came with a 128th-minute extra-time header in the MLS Cup final that saw LAFC draw the game level 3-3 against Philadelphia Union. That forced the match to a penalty shootout, which led to LAFC securing their first major trophy.
Just like his coach at Real Madrid, Zinedin Zidane, Gareth Bale’s last act in football was in World Cup match. His being a match in Qatar 2022 World Cup, where he earned the last of his record-breaking 111 caps in their 3-0 defeat to England.
In a separate letter to his Welsh family, Gareth Bale wrote, “I am honoured and humbled to have been able to play a part in the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and together have been to unexpected and amazing places.”
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur