Former Wales, Real Madrid, and Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has retired from football.
The 33-year-old has ended a stellar career as one of Britain’s greatest players – he’s won five Champion League titles and got to play in a World Cup for Wales in Qatar.
He was a European champion with Madrid in 2014, ‘16, ’17, ’18, and last year, before finishing his club career by helping Los Angeles FC win the Major League Soccer title.
The Welshman has played a record 111 matches for his country and scored a record 41 times.
He made the announcement on social media, saying the decision was ‘by far the hardest’ of his career.
“My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am,” said Bale.
“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.”
Bale started out as a left-back for Southampton, moved to Tottenham in 2007 for a six-year spell, and had another year at Spurs in the 2020-21 season on loan from Madrid.
He scored 53 Premier League goals and 81 in La Liga. He won three Spanish league titles, one Copa del Rey, and one English League Cup title.
Only one player — former Real Madrid star Paco Gento — won more European Cup/Champions League titles than Bale.
Madrid called Bale a “legend of our club and world football.”
“Gareth Bale has been part of our team in one of the most successful stages in our history and forever represents many of the brightest moments of the last decade,” the Spanish club said. Madrid referred specifically to his go-ahead goals in the 2014 and ‘18 Champions League finals and his solo goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in 2014 when he sprinted down the left wing, even outside the field through the coaches’ technical areas.