Gareth Bale retires: why has Wales star retired from football, how old is ex Real Madrid player – career highs
Gareth Bale has announced his retired from international and club football with immediate affect. The 33-year-old took to social media to reveal his decision and ends his career as the his country’s most-capped player with 111 appearance for Wales.
Bale’s announcement comes just under a month after he captained his country to their first World Cup in over 60 years. The decision also comes shortly after he vowed to continue playing for his country despite their early exit from the tournament. Wales were placed in the same group as England, USA and Iran and were unable to qualify from the group.
Throughout his club career, Bale spent time at Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and latterly Los Angeles FC scoring 106 goals in La Liga and 53 in the Premier League.
Gareth Bale’s club career
Born in Cardiff, Wales, Bale began his career at Southampton, joining their youth teams in 1999 and initially played as a left-back and earning acclaim as a free-kick specialist. In 2007, Bale moved to Tottenham where he transformed into a much more attacking player and became widely regarded as one of the greatest wingers of his generation.
In 2011 and 2013, Bale was named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year as well as being named in the UEFA Team of the Year. 2013 also saw Bale names as the PFA Young Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season.
The 33-year-old moved to Real Madrid in 2013 for a then world record transfer fee of £85.1 million and was part of the trio along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema that helped the La Liga side to win the 2013-14 Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League, scoring in both finals. Bale’s time at Real Madrid is most famously associated with his overhead kick in Real Madrid’s 2018 UEFA Champions League final victory over Liverpool.
A number of injuries reduced Bale’s game-time and in 2022 he moved to MLS club Los Angeles in FC where he won the Supoorters’ Shield and MLS Cup in his first season.
What has been said?
Taking to his social media accounts, the former Welsh captain posted two lengthy messages which include: “After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club an 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 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 and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true.
“To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally LAFC. All of my previous managers and coaches, back room staff, teammates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.”
“My decision to retire from International football has been, by far, the hardest of my career. How do I describe what being part of this country and team means to me? How do I put in to words the way I felt every single time I put on that Welsh shirt? My asnwer is that I couldn’t possibly do any of those things justice, simply with words. But I know that every person involved in Welsh football, feels the magic, and is impacted in such a powerful and unique way so I know you feel what I feel, without using any words at all.
“My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am. The fortune of being Welsh and being selected to play for and captain Wales has given me something incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced. 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. Thank you to every one of you being on this journey with me.
“So for now I am stepping back, but not away from the team that lives in my and runs through my veins. After all, the dragon on my shirt is all I need. Together stronger, Diolch.”