Bale Announces Shock Retirement At 33
Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 with immediate effect.
Bale still had six months remaining on his contract with Major League Soccer's Los Angeles FC.
He is regarded as arguably Britain's greatest football export following a trophy-laden stint with Real Madrid, who he joined for a then-world record £85m from Tottenham Hotspurs in the summer of 2013.
His list of laurels at the Santiago Bernabeu included five Champions League titles, three La Liga trophies, one Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups.
Bale started out as a left back at Southampton and his early days at Spurs but was transformed into one of the deadliest wingers of his generation.
Bale retires as Wales' most capped player(111) and record goalscorer (41).
"After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football," read Bale's retirement post.
"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, back room staff, team mates, 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..."