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Official: Gareth Bale announces retirement from professional football

The forward has announced the decision with immediate effect

Welsh forward Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from professional football with immediate effect, hanging his boots up after a glittering club and international career.

The winger, 33, revealed the decision on Instagram, explaining that “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 (football) has truly given me some of the best moments of my life,” he continued.

“The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.”

“My decision to retire from international football has been by far the hardest of my career,” Bale added. “My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am.”

He then followed former teammate Luka Modric to the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid, where he managed 47 goals across three La Liga campaigns. He also helped Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, where they were eventually beaten by Portugal in the semi-finals.

His crowning moment at club level, however, were a fantastic pair of goals in the 2018 Champions League final, when Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1. His club career began to stall after that, with Spanish media claiming that he saved himself for international football rather than give 100% for Los Blancos, and a loan return to Tottenham followed in 2020.

After helping Wales to their first World Cup finals since 1958, he spent a stint of time in the MLS to prepare for the winter tournament, but could not help the Dragons out of the Group Stages.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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