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Gareth Bale Retires At 33

Real Madrid, Tottenham, Southampton, and Wales star Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from professional football. The 33-year-old made the surprising announcement in a statement posted on his social media channels.

What made the announcement so surprising was the vow he made a little more than a month ago. Following Wales’s disappointing group-stage exit at their first World Cup finals tournament in 64 years he vowed to continue playing.

With the announcement of his retirement, Bale has brought an end to a career that saw Bale excel for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, and LAFC. On the other hand, he has established himself as one of the greatest players in Welsh football history.

In addition to this, Bale’s retirement has him stepping away from the game midway through his contract at Los Angeles FC, which was due to expire this summer.

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

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have realized 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.”

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— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023

The last time Bale played on the field was in the 2022 World Cup for Wales. It was during his game that he earned the last of his record-breaking 111 caps in their 3-0 defeat to England.

During his career, Bale had plenty of achievements. When he played in Spain, Spain, Bale won three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and five Champions Leagues (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2022).

In September 2013, Madrid signed Bale on a six-year deal for a then-world-record fee of €100 million.

Bale has also made many historical contributions. In the 2018 Champions League final, his stunning overhead kick helped the Los Blancos to their 3-1 win over Liverpool. When he played in the States, his greatest contribution came with a 128th-minute extra-time header in the MLS Cup final that saw LAFC end the match against Philadelphia Union 3-3. This draw led to a penalty shoot-out which helped secure the LAFC’s victory.

When playing for the Wales team, he had 111 appearances, sitting alongside his record-setting 41 goals. He also helped the team on their journey to the semifinals of Euro 2016. Additionally, he led their campaigns at Euro 2020 and the recent World Cup. This marked the Welsh men’s team’s first appearance in the World Cup since 1958.

Having captained the team into the World Cup and, in announcing his retirement, Bale issued a separate statement addressed to his “Welsh family.”

“My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am,” Bale wrote. “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.

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— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023

Bale has not confirmed any plans, but he has written how he is moving “with anticipation to the next stage of my life.”

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