10:30 AM ET
Gareth Bale has called time on his professional football career. James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Bale decided to retire at the age of 33.

Bale made a surprise announcement in a statement on Monday.

Bale established himself as one of the greatest players in Welsh football history as a result of his career.

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Bale said in a statement that he was retiring 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 be impossible to duplicate the highest of highs over 17 seasons.

At club level, Bale started his professional career at Saints and his form there earned him a move to Spurs. He became one of the best players in the world when he moved to the left of the attacking line after joining Spurs as a left-back.

He won an array of individual awards for his performances at the premier league team, and in September 2013 Madrid signed Bale on a six-year deal for a then world record fee of 100 million


— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023

Bale won three La Liga titles in Spain. He was frozen out in the final stages of his Madrid contract, but still contributed to some historic moments for the club, such as his overhead kick in the final of the European Championship.

He spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Spurs. After one last season at Madrid, he left the club at the end of his contract and joined LAFC.

In the MLS Cup final, he scored in the 128th minute to help LAFC tie the game at 3-3 against Philadelphia Union. LAFC secured their first ever major trophy when they won a penalty shoot out.

Bale said that it felt like an impossibility to show his gratitude to all of the people that helped along the way. I am indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn't have imagined when I first started out.

The impact you have had on my life is unparalleled.

The last time Bale played for Wales was in the World Cup in which they lost to England in the group stage. He announced his retirement after captaining the team into the competition.


— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023

His record-setting 41 goals make him the most capped Wales men's player with a total of 112 appearances. The Welsh men's team made their first appearance in the World Cup in over 50 years, thanks to his help, along with their campaigns at Euro 2020 and the World Cup.

Bale wrote that his journey on the international stage has changed him. Being Welsh and being selected to play for and captain Wales has given me something incomparable to anything else.

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 to have been to unexpected and amazing places is something that I am extremely proud of.

Bale wrote in his retirement statement that he was looking forward to the next stage of his life. There is a time of change and transition.

He will keep an eye on the Wales team.

He said that he was stepping back but not away from the team that lives in him. The dragon on my shirt is all that's needed.