Wales captain Gareth Bale
Wales captain Gareth Bale

Wales captain Bale retires from football aged 33

Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is arguably Wales’ finest ever footballer.

CARDIFF: Wales captain Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 after a glittering career.

The nation’s most-capped male player and record men’s goalscorer announced his decision on social media.

Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is arguably Wales’ finest ever footballer.

“After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football,” Bale said.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love.”

Cardiff-born Bale’s club career took him from Southampton to Tottenham Hotspur and a world record transfer to Spanish giant Real before his move to Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC in June 2022.

He was his country’s talisman as it reached the 2016 and 2020 European Championships before he led Wales at its first World Cup since 1958 at Qatar 2022, ending his international career with 41 goals in 111 appearances.

Bale was twice named footballer of the year while at Tottenham, in 2010-11 and 2012-13, and moved to Real for what was then a world-record fee of more than £80m in September 2013.

During his time in the Spanish capital, Bale helped Real win three league titles and five Champions League titles - a number no other British player has matched - along with three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and a Spanish cup.

“It [football] has truly given me some of the best moments of my life,” added Bale.

“The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.”

Bale had joined Tottenham in a deal worth a reported £10m in 2007 having played 45 times for Southampton, scoring five goals.

Having been used primarily as a left-back in his early career, he really began to thrive in a Spurs shirt when operating further forward, catching the eye especially with a scintillating hat-trick in the Champions League at the San Siro against European champion Inter Milan.

Bale’s scintillating Spurs form secured the move to Real, where his spell was not always positive despite the fact he scored 104 goals in more than 250 appearances for the club, including two in a match-winning performance in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool.

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