Gareth Bale has said that he will stop playing professional football when he turns 33.
Bale surprised everyone with the news on Monday, when he posted a statement on his social media sites.
It’s the end of Bale’s career, which saw him do well for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, and LAFC. He also became one of the best Welsh football players of all time.
“After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to quit club and international football right away,” Bale said in a statement.
“I feel so lucky to be able to play the sport I love, which was my dream. Some of the best times of my life have really come from it. No matter what happens in the next chapter of my life, I will never be able to reach the same level of happiness as I did in the 17th season.”
Bale began his professional club career at Southampton, and because of how well he played there, he moved to Tottenham in May 2007. He started out as a left back for Spurs, but he was soon moved to the left side of Tottenham’s attack line, where he became one of the best players in the world.
He won a lot of individual awards for his work with the Premier League team. In September 2013, Madrid signed Bale to a six-year deal for €100 million, which was the world record at the time.
In Spain, Bale won five Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles, and one Copa del Rey (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022). Even though he was frozen out of Madrid at the end of his contract, he helped Los Blancos have some historic moments, like his amazing overhead kick in their 3-1 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2018.
At the end of his time at Madrid, he spent the 2020-21 season back at Spurs on loan. And after his last season at Madrid, he left the team in June 2022 when his contract was up and signed a one-year deal with LAFC.
He played 14 games in the United States. His best play was a header in the 128th minute of extra time in the MLS Cup final between LAFC and Philadelphia Union that tied the game at 3-3. Because of this, the game went to a penalty shootout, where LAFC won their first major trophy.
“It seems impossible to me to show my gratitude to everyone who has helped me on this journey,” Bale said. “I feel like I owe a lot to a lot of people for helping to change my life and shape my career in ways I never could have imagined when I was 9 years old.” To my previous teams, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid, and finally LAFC, all of my managers and coaches, backroom staff, teammates, all of the dedicated fans, my agents, and my amazing friends and family, you have made an immeasurable difference.”
Bale’s last football game was for Wales in the 2022 World Cup. They lost to England 3-0, which was the last of his record-setting 111 caps. He led the team into that competition as captain, and when he announced his retirement, he sent a separate message to his “Welsh family.”
He ends his international career with Wales as the player with the most caps (111) and the most goals (41), both of which are records. He led the team’s efforts at Euro 2020 and the World Cup, which was the first time the Welsh men’s team had been in the World Cup since 1958. He also helped the team get to the semifinals of Euro 2016.
Bale wrote, “My journey on the international stage has changed not only my life, but also who I am.” “Being Welsh and being chosen to play for and lead Wales has given me something that can’t be compared to anything else.” I feel honoured and humbled to have been a part of the history of this amazing country, to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and to have gone to unexpected and amazing places with them.”
Bale hasn’t said what he wants to do next: In his retirement statement, he said, “I look forward to the next part of my life.” “A time of change and transition, a chance to start something new.”
He says that he will keep a close eye on his Wales team, no matter how that new adventure turns out.
“So, for now, I’m taking a step back,” he said, “but not away from the team that lives in me and flows through my veins.” “In the end, all I need is the dragon on my shirt.”