Gareth Bale retires aged 33 as Real Madrid, Tottenham and Wales legend calls time on glittering 17-year career | The Sun

GARETH BALE has retired from ALL football aged just 33.

The Tottenham and Real Madrid legend made the shock announcement on his social media accounts today.





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He scored a memorable winner in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against BarcaCredit: Getty
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He won an incredible five Champions Leagues with Real MadridCredit: PA:Press Association
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He returned to Tottenham on loan in 2020-2021Credit: AP
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Bale won the MLS Cup in his final club game after scoring a last-gasp equaliserCredit: Reuters
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His final professional goal was a penalty against USA at the World CupCredit: Getty

The Welshman is one of the most decorated British footballers ever.

He has won five Champions League trophies, all with Madrid, while he also lifted three La Liga crowns, three FIFA Club World Cups, three Super Cups, the Supercopa de Espana and the Copa de Rey during his time in Spain.

Bale posted on social media: "After careful and thoughtful consideration I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.

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"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 and I have an immense pride and gratitude for.

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"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.

"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 came through the ranks at Southampton before joining Tottenham as a 17-year-old.

He spent six years in North London, playing more than 200 times and was named PFA Players' Player of the year twice.

In 2012-2013 he scored 26 goals in all comps, which earned him a move to Real Madrid, who paid Spurs a world-record fee of more than £80m for his services.

And despite a love-hate relationship with the Madrid supporters, he won an incredible SIXTEEN trophies in eight years.

Bale left last summer and enjoyed a brief stint with Los Angeles FC in preparation for the World Cup.

His standout moment came when he scored a dramatic last-gasp extra-time winner in the MLS Cup final, with his side winning the trophy on penalties.

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Bale also played at two European Championships and one World Cup for Wales with his final competitive game proving to be the 3-0 defeat to England on 29 November.

He finishes as the Red Dragons' all-time top appearance marker with 111 caps.

His 41st and final international goal was the penalty in their World Cup opener against USA.

He also wrote a message to Wales fans in particular.

Bale said: "My decision to retire from international football has been by far the hardest of my career.

"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.

"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."

Two of his former clubs Southampton and Tottenham have reacted to his announcement.

Boyhood club Saints said on Twitter: "Here's to you, @GarethBale11 😇 Congratulations on an incredible career ❤️."

They followed it up with a second tweet that said: "Generational talent ✨ One of our own 😇."

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Meanwhile, Spurs said: "Thank you for everything, @GarethBale11 💙 Congratulations on an incredible career."

Just 24 hours before hanging up his boots, Bale was named in Los Angeles FC's pre-season squad.

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