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Gareth Bale retires! Five-time Champions League winner & Wales legend hangs up his boots aged 33

18:31 EAT 09/01/2023
Gareth Bale Wales 2022
Gareth Bale, five-times Champions League winner and Wales' top scorer and most-capped player, has announced his retirement from football.
  • Bale won five Champions Leagues with Madrid
  • Wales' top scorer and most-capped player
  • Announced retirement from football on Monday

WHAT HAPPENED? At 33 years old, Bale announced in a set of tweets that he would be hanging up his boots, both at club and international level. The now former Wales captain recently represented his nation at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he took his total to 41 goals in 111 caps for his country, ahead of second-placed Ian Rush (28 goals) and Christ Gunter (109 caps), respectively. Bale leaves his most recent club, Los Angeles FC, who he joined in July 2022 and where he won the MLS Cup after his own 128th minute equaliser, which is his last trophy to date.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: His recent accolade in the US adds to an impressive personal collection that reflects a star-studded career. The Welshman rose to prominence as a full-back with Tottenham - where he made a brief return in 2020-21 - and celebrated a League Cup victory in 2008 alongside 42 goals in 146 appearances. Bale is undoubtedly best known for his time with Spanish giants Real Madrid, where he scored 81 goals in 176 appearances across all competitions. In that time, Bale won five Champions Leagues - the joint-second highest tally ever behind Los Blancos legend Paco Gento - as well as three La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey trophy.

WHAT THEY SAID?: "After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football," Bale wrote in the first of two tweets. "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. 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 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. 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"

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR BALE? The Wales legend and former Real Madrid star hinted at "a new adventure" in his retirement message, leading some to suggest that he could now pursue a career in golf, although nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

@goalglobal

gareth bale is the greatest british footballer ever 👑 #football #premierleague #garethbale #realmadrid #championsleague #mls #soccer #futbol #fyp

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