Wales captain and former Real Madrid winger, Gareth Bale, has announced his retirement from active football.
Bale, 33, made the shocking statement about his retirement on his social media handles on Monday.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023
However, Bale’s emotional statement didn’t disclose the reason behind his immediate retirement despite being active for his club and country, Wales which he led to their first-ever World Cup after decades in Qatar last year.
The winger’s statement in part read that the decision for his retirement was to focus on other aspects of his life which are yet to be disclosed.
“After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.
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. The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.
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 show my gratitude to all of those that have played their part along this journey, feels like an impossibility. I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn’t have ever dreamed of when I first started out at 9 years old.
To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally LAFC. All of my previous managers and coaches, backroom staff, teammates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.
My parents and my sister, without your dedication in those early days, without such a strong foundation, I wouldn’t be writing this statement right now, so thank you for putting me on this path and for your unwavering support.
My wife and my children, your love and support has carried me through. Right beside me for all the highs and lows, keeping me grounded along the way. You inspire me to be better and to make you proud.
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.”
Bale, who started his professional career at Southampton as a teenager, joined Tottenham in 2007 and the switch to the London side became a turnaround for the Welsh player who was converted from a left-back to a winger by Harry Redknapp.
Bale, who at some point was the most expensive player with a price tag of 85.1m pounds during the 2013 summer transfer window from Tottenham to Real Madrid, was an important member of the Galacticos that won the Champions League, Copa De Rey and Fifa World Club Cup all in the same season.
He ended up winning five Champions League trophies in the Galacticos shirt to be among one of Britain’s greatest exports.
However, the Welsh star was struck with several injuries that kept him at bay during his nine-year spell at the Spain capital.
Bale was also a focal member of the Wales National team known as the Dragons for his leadership astuteness.
During his international activities with Wales, Bale scored a total of 41 goals in 111 appearances which included 2016, 2020 Euros and the 2022 world cup.
In his statement, Bale appreciated the Welsh National team for their support during his 16-year spell with the country men’s football team.
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“My decision to retire from international football has been, by far the hardest of my career.
“How do I describe what being a part of this country and team means to me? How do I articulate the impact it has had on my life? How do I put into words the way I felt, every single time I put on that Welsh shirt? My answer is that I couldn’t possibly do any of those things justice, simply with words. But I know that every person involved in Welsh football, feels the magic, and is impacted in such a powerful and unique way, so I know you feel what I feel, without using any words at all.
“My journey on the international stage has changed not only my life but who I am. 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. 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.
“I shared a dressing room with boys that became brothers, and backroom staff that became family, I played for the most incredible managers, and felt the undying support and love from the most dedicated fans in the world. Thank you to every one of you for being on this journey with me.
So for now I am stepping back, but not away from the team that lives in me and runs through my veins. After all, the dragon on my shirt is all I need.
Together stronger 🏴”
Meanwhile, Bale scored a total of 141 goals in 394 appearances at club levels with multiple trophies.
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