Real Madrid, Tottenham and Wales legend Gareth Bale ends his professional career after leading his nation out at the World Cup in Qatar and scoring against the United States before their group-stage elimination. It had been widely reported that the 33-year-old would decide on his future after the competition, and on Monday he announced in a moving statement that he was hanging up his boots.
What did Gareth Bale say?
“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 immense pride and gratitude for. Playing for and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true. Read More: Following Uproar Caused by Le Grat’s Remarks, Kylian Mbappe Stands Up for Zinedine Zidane
“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, backroom staff, teammates. all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and my family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.
Bale further added
“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 have 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…”
A look at Gareth Bale and his beautiful career
Bale broke through at Southampton as a teenager before joining Tottenham, and his trophy haul has put him in the conversation for the greatest footballer of all time.
Bale, however, found his form starting in 2011 and scored 26 goals in his final season at Tottenham before joining Real Madrid for a then-record £90 million.
Along with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and other members of the renowned “BBC” strikeforce, the winger scored 106 goals in 258 games for Real Madrid, winning five Champions League titles, three La Liga titles, and a Copa del Rey. One of the greatest goals ever scored on a stage like that was Bale’s overhead kick in the 2018 final victory over Liverpool. Read More: Owners of Paris Saint-Germain are interested in investing in a Premier League team
Injury plagued his final years in Madrid before a loan return to Spurs and his final club, LAFC, where he scored a memorable equaliser in the 128th minute of the MLS Cup final before winning the championship in a penalty shootout.
As Bale’s career progressed, he continued to play a talismanic role for Wales, leading them to two appearances in the European Championships and their first World Cup appearance in 64 years.
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