Wales captain Bale announces end of playing career


  • Bale retires at 33
  • The Welshman has won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid
  • Helped Wales reach their first World Cup since 1958

(Reuters) – Wales and Los Angeles FC winger Gareth Bale said on Monday he has decided to end his playing career at the age of 33 after achieving extraordinary milestones in both club and international football. .

Bale made 111 appearances for Wales and won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid. He led Wales in his 2022 World Cup in Qatar for the first time since 1958 after helping Wales reach his 2016 and his 2020 Euros.

“After careful consideration, I am announcing my immediate retirement from club and international football,” Bale said on Twitter.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to fulfill my dream of playing the sport I love.It has truly given me the best moments of my life.

“No matter what the next chapter has in store for me, it will be impossible to repeat my best record in 17 seasons.”

Bale began his senior career at then-Championship side Southampton, introducing the 17-year-old to professional football before moving to Tottenham Hotspur two years later.

After six seasons and nearly 150 appearances in the Premier League, Bale signed for Real Madrid for what the British media reported as a world-record fee of €100 million ($107.45 million).

In 2013-14, his first season in Spain, he helped Real Madrid win the 10th Champions League trophy the club had been waiting for for over a decade. Bale scored six goals in 12 appearances in this winning campaign, including his 4-1 final win over Atlético Madrid.

“From my first touch at Southampton to my last play at LAFC and everything in between has shaped my career at the club and I take great pride and gratitude,” added Bale.

“Being captain for 111 times in my home country was a dream come true.”

The player issued a separate statement to bid farewell to the Welsh fans and team, saying his decision to retire from international football was “the most difficult of my career”.

“Being Welsh and the fortune of being chosen captain of Wales has given me something I have never experienced before.

“I am honored and humbled to have been part of the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the Red Walls, and to have gone to some unexpected and wonderful places together. doing.

“I shared a dressing room with a boy who became a brother and a backroom staff member who became a family.”

first european championship

Bale became the youngest Welsh player ever to come on as a substitute against Trinidad and Tobago in May 2006 at the age of 16 years and 315 days.

He captained Wales in their first European Championship in 2016, reaching the semi-finals and helping them qualify for Euro 2020 again before reaching the 2022 World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The 33-year-old, who was Wales’ all-time top appearancer in their second group stage match against Iran in Qatar, vowed to keep playing for the national team after losing 3-0 to England.

“I don’t think this will be the last time we see him in a Welsh jersey,” Wales manager Rob Page said after the defeat.

($1 = 0.9307 EUR)

Reported by Anita Kobylinska, Washington, DC.Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radonege

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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