Gareth Bale celebrates winning the Champions League with Real Madrid against Liverpool in 2018
Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid win the Champions League five times

At the age of 33, Bale has decided to retire from football.

He announced his decision on social media.

Bale is Wales' greatest ever footballer.

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.

A world record transfer to Real Madrid was one of the highlights of Bale's club career.

His country's talisman as they reached the 2016 and 2020 European Championships, before he led Wales at their first World Cup since 1959

Bale was twice named footballer of the year while at Spurs, before he moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of more than £80 million.

During his time in Madrid, Bale helped Real win five European titles, a number no other British player has achieved.

He was named the player of the tournament after Real's triumph in the Uefa Super Cup, as well as three club World Cups.

Football has given me some of the best moments of my life.

No matter what the next chapter has in store for me, the highest of highs will be impossible to duplicate.

The deal for Bale to join Spurs was worth a reported $10m and he had played 45 times for the club.

Having been used primarily as a left-back in his early career, he really began to thrive in a Spurs shirt when operating further forward.

Even though he scored more than 100 goals in more than 250 appearances for the club, Bale's spell at Real was not always good.

Injuries and inconsistent form led to less first-team opportunities for him.

The proposed transfer of Bale to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning broke down after the forward said that Real had blocked the move.

After celebrating Wales' qualification for Euro 2020 with a Welsh flag, his relationship with the Spanish giants was further affected. There is a sport called golf. The capital of Spain. It's in that order.

He scored 17 goals while on loan to Spurs in the 21st century, giving him a Spurs record of 72 goals in 236 games, but he didn't make a single appearance for Madrid after that.

Bale joined LAFC on a 12-month deal after his Real contract expired, but his time in the US was marred by fitness issues.

Bale helped LAFC lift the MLS Cup for the first time in November by scoring a last-minute goal in extra time, but he only played in two games.

Bale said it felt like an impossibility to show his gratitude to all of the people that helped along the way.

Many people helped change my life and shape my career in a way that I couldn't have imagined when I first started out.

The impact you have had on my life is immense.

Thank you for putting me on this path and for your constant support, I wouldn't be writing this statement right now if it weren't for you.

The love and support of my family has helped me through. You inspire me to be better and to make you proud because you are right beside me.

I move on with anticipation to the next stage of my life, a time of change and opportunity for a new adventure.

Bale's contribution was never questioned by Welsh fans despite being criticized by Real fans.

Wales lost to England in the group stage of the World Cup, which ended Bale's career as a player.

It wasn't a good end for a player who achieved great things.

Bale's first senior cap followed a matter of weeks after he made his Saints debut as a teenager.

The record for youngest international has been broken.

Bale inspired his country to the best spell in their history when he made his Wales debut in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago.

Wales qualified for Euro 2016 and went all the way to the semi-finals, only losing to Portugal.

They made it to the knockout stages of the next European Championship before securing their place in the World Cup.

Bale said his decision to retire from international football was the hardest of his career.

What does being a part of the team mean to me? What is the impact it has had on my life? I don't know how to put into words how I felt when I wore that shirt. I can't do any of those things justice with words.

Every person involved in Welsh football feels the magic and is impacted in such a powerful and unique way that I know you feel what I feel.

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 able to play a part in the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the Red Wall and together have been to amazing places is something that I am very proud of.

The dressing room that I shared with the boys became a family room.

I was supported and loved by the most dedicated fans in the world while I was a player. I would like to thank all of you for being with me.

I am taking a break but not away from the team that lives in me and runs through my veins after all the dragon on my shirt is all I need.