Gareth Bale says he will stop playing professional football.

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 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 started out at age 9.”

“To my previous clubs 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’ve done or seen.

“I am 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 been 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 forwards 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.”

Gareth Bale was more than just a list of records or trophies.

The Wales forwards is retiring with an impressive resume, but it was his stunning style that really set him apart.

Gareth Bale might as well have been on the field and in the playground at the same time. When you watch some of his best goals back, you can almost see his school tie flapping behind him as he runs, a worn-out sponge ball stuck to his feet, and a careful teacher carrying a tray of orange squash across the penalty area.

Bale always played to win, of course. But you can also see something else in the 30-yard screamers and lightning-fast bursts of speed: a young man playing just to play, for the thrill of solving a new problem, and to feel. What was the point of running if you weren’t going to do it as fast as you possibly could? What was the point of taking a free kick if you weren’t going to put it in the top corner? And what was the point of being a football player if you didn’t try these things?

In 2010, at the San Siro, Gareth Bale scored one of his three goals against Internazionale.
In 2010, at the San Siro, Gareth Bale scored one of his three goals against Internazionale.

This doesn’t mean that Bale didn’t have ambition or a good plan. No one wins three La Liga titles, five Champions Leagues, and one Copa del Rey (yes, that one) over the course of a career without knowing what they want and how to get it. But it’s probably fair to say that Bale was more of a “moment player” than a “model player.” He was more of a “monument player” than a “milestone player.”

Sometimes these moments lasted for a fraction of a second, sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for a half hour, and sometimes, like in 2012/13, for the whole nine-month Premier League season. He might have been able to win more than he did. He might have been able to play more than he did. He might have been able to leave Real Madrid a little sooner than he did.

And we should probably start with Madrid, where Bale signed for a world-record fee, won everything there was to win, and still lost a part of himself. In retrospect, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013 was just too good and too arrogant to be topped or beat. Most of the players at Madrid either understood this and stayed (like Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, and ngel Di Mara) or left. Bale did neither.

He was first put on the right side of the team, but he asked for and got a more central role. What he did was just very good. Injuries began to bite. The fans in Madrid, on the other hand, never liked him as much as they liked Ronaldo, and after a long contract dispute, they turned against him completely.

But no one could touch him when he was angry. His most famous goal is probably the bicycle kick he did against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final. Then there was Bale’s crazy solo goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in 2014.

He took the ball at the half-way line, ran along the sideline for a quarter of the field, and then poked a shot through the goalkeeper’s legs. This was probably the best example of Playground Bale. It was the kind of goal that most players couldn’t even think of, let alone try, let alone complete.

Then there was his training at Tottenham, which included a thrilling hat-trick against Internazionale at San Siro in 2010, the destruction of Maicon in the return game, an out-of-this-world volley against Stoke, and one of the best Premier League seasons ever in 2012-13. In it, Bale scored 21 goals, nine of which came from outside the penalty area.

Four of those goals were game-winners that came in the 78th minute or later. So, he led a team with Steven Caulker, Kyle Naughton, and Lewis Holtby all by himself to the edge of the Champions League. And to think that he used to be a skinny £5m left-back who didn’t win any of his first 24 games for the club and was kept out of the team at first by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

But Bale’s story is always one of both growth and expression. If Southampton got him started and Tottenham made him famous, Wales red was where he went on his greatest journey. Wales hadn’t qualified for a major tournament in 48 years when Bale made his debut as a 16-year-old in 2006.

They have now made three of the last four, and even if Bale wasn’t the only important player on that team, he was its lungs, heart, ambition, audacity, fun, and buzz. Wales is Bale’s team in spirit and attitude, and once again, Bale leaves the team with a bunch of game-winning, heart-stopping memories.

Maybe the way it all ended was a bit weak. Those years of wasting and rotting at Real Madrid, a mostly boring loan to José Mourinho’s Tottenham, a half-hearted stint at Los Angeles, and a bad first World Cup that ended with him being taken off against England at halftime.

This works. Even the best people go through this. And maybe it was inevitable that the half-cocked, pedaled-down extended dotage would never work for a player who played by feeling and whose speciality was making perfect and amazing moments. Bale didn’t want the divisions to wind down slowly, and he didn’t want a cushy job in China or the Gulf.

Some people still say that Bale didn’t live up to his potential or fulfil his destiny. Which… well, what does it mean?

Maybe sometimes we forget that football isn’t a clinical exercise or a game of numbers or records, but a heaving, humming, sobbing, screaming flick-book of pure memories: memories we love and memories we remember wrong. Bale has made more memories like this in his 17 years as a professional football player than any other player from these shores. And let that be his whole story.

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