Bale retired from football at the age of 33.

Bale was a member of the Wales squad for the World Cup in 2022, which was held in the Persian Gulf.

Bale said quitting international football was the hardest of his career.

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He said that his journey on the international stage has changed his life.

One of Britain's greatest ever football exports was the Welshman, who won five European titles and three LaLiga titles.

Image: Bale won five Champions League titles at Real Madrid

Bale announced his immediate retirement from club and international football.

I'm incredibly lucky to have realized my dream of playing the sport I love. Some of the best moments of my life have come from it. It will not be possible to duplicate the highest of highs over 17 seasons.

I have an immense pride and gratitude for everything that I have been a part of. It feels impossible to show my gratitude to all of the people that have helped me along the way. Many people helped change my life and shape my career in a way that I couldn't have imagined when I started out. I would like to thank my previous clubs. The impact you have had on my life is unparalleled.

Gareth Bale looks dejected following Wales' defeat to Iran at the World Cup
Image: Bale was unable to help Wales beyond the group stage at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

"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." Keeping me grounded along the way was right beside me. You make me want to be better. I anticipate the next stage of my life. There is a time of change and transition.

To my family in Wales.

It has been the hardest part of my career to retire from international football.

What does being a part of the team mean to me?

I don't know how to explain the impact it has had on my life. I don't know how to put in words the way I feel when I wear that shirt. I can't do any of those things justice with words. I know that every person involved in Welsh football feels the magic and is impacted in such a unique way that I know you feel what I feel.

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts after scoring a goal vs United States
Image: Bale scored a penalty in Wales' opening 2022 World Cup group game against United States

My journey on the international stage has changed not only my life, but who I am as well. Being Welsh and being selected to play for and captain Wales has given me something that no other experience has. To have been a part of the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and to have been to unexpected and amazing places is something that I am very proud of.

"I shared a dressing room with boys that became brothers, and back room staff that became family, I played for the most incredible managers, and felt the love and support from the fans in the world." I would like to thank all of you for being with me.

I am taking a break but not away from the team that runs through my veins. The dragon on my shirt is all that's needed.

"We're stronger together, Diolch."

Bale's career in numbers

Gareth Bale

The number of caps for Wales' men's national team is a new record.

The national men's team goal scoring record was broken by Ian Rush.

Bale was the most expensive player in the world when he joined Real Madrid.

At Real Madrid, there were five titles.

There were 106 goals at Real Madrid.

Bale played for a number of clubs.

Bale was 16 years and 315 days old when he played for his country. At the age of 16 years and 207 days, Harry Wilson became the youngest player to ever play in a game.

On October 7, 2006 he scored against Slovakia with a trademark free- kick.

The first Wales player to score two international hat- tricks was against China.

Wales ended a 58-year wait to play at a major tournament by scoring seven goals in Euro 2016 qualification.

Three goals were scored against England, Slovakia and Russia. He was the first player to score in all three games at the Euros since 2004.

There are two free- kicks. Bale became the first player to score two free- kicks at a European Championship since Germany's Thomas Hassler in 1992.

He became the first Wales player to score at a major international tournament in 58 years with his free kick against Slovakia.

Bale is the first Welsh player to score at a World Cup in 64 years. Terry Medwin scored the previous goal against Hungary.