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Wales captain Gareth Bale retires from football

Welsh football captain Gareth Bale has announced that he is retiring from both club and international football.

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The 33 year-old, who currently plays for Los Angeles FC in the USA made the announcement on social media.

The news comes after he captained the Wales international side to their first World Cup finals since 1958 at Qatar’s 2022 competition.

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Cardiff-born Bale made his senior international debut for Wales in May 2006, becoming the youngest player at that point to represent Wales.

He is both Wales’ most capped player with 111 games, and its all-time leading goal scorer with 41 goals for his country.

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After starting his professional career at Southampton in 2006, he moved on to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 for an eventual £7m fee.

Bale transferred to Spanish club Real Madrid in 2013 for a world record transfer fee of £85.1m (€100.8m) before finishing his career with a move to Los Angeles FC in 2022.

In a statement on social media, Gareth Bale said: “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.

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“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, back room staff, team mates, all of 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…”

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(Lead image: Dave Shopland / Shutterstock)

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