Los Angeles Football Club player Gareth Bale announces his retirement from football at the age of 33.
No LAFC fan or football fan expected Bale to announce his retirement after signing his LAFC contract six months ago. The five time Champions League winner made his announcement via Twitter on January 9th.
“After careful and thoughtful consideration I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football,” Bale said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have realized my dream of playing the sport I love.”
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) January 9, 2023
Bale began his senior career at Southampton and spent one year scoring five goals.
After a decent season with the Saints. Tottenham Hotspur signed Bale for a fee of 10 million euros. In the early years, Bale started as a wing back or left back. But, former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp noticed Bale’s pace, dribbling, strength, stamina and he decided to utilize him as left winger.
The game he burst out to the sense was his great performance against Inter Milan as Bale scored his first hat-trick despite Spurs losing 4-3.
Before joining Real Madrid he established himself as one of the best players in the world. He was the stand out player in the 2012-2013 season for Spurs scoring 26 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions.
In September of 2013 Real Madrid signed Bale on a six-year deal for a then-world-record-fee of 100 million euros. In Real Madrid, he won three La Liga titles (2017, 2020, 2022). He also won one Copa del Rey and five Champions Leagues.
During his time in Los Merengues he contributed historic moments including his stunning overhead kick against Liverpool and his epic last minute goal versus rivals FC Barcelona. Bale outpaced Marc Bartra from the halfway line before scoring past Jose Manuel Pinto.
In the first five years at Madrid, Bale was astonishing despite a few injuries and criticism from fans and media. But after the 2017/18 season, he was frozen out of the squad at times.
Los Blancos wanted to get rid of him, but he refused to leave the club causing problems behind the scenes. In his last years at Madrid, he spent the 2020/21 season on loan back at Spurs scoring a total of 16 goals.
Towards his last years in Madrid, he joined LAFC on a 12 month deal. He made 14 appearances in the United States and his greatest contribution came with a 128th-minute extra-time header against Philadelphia Union with score 3-3 which led to a penalty shootout. LAFC won on penalties by 3-0 and win its first ever MLS Cup.
During his International career he helped Wales reach the semi-finals in the 2016 European Championship in France. He also helped Wales qualify for the 2020 Euros and the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He was his nation’s main talisman and ended with 41 goals in 111 appearances.
“To show my gratitude to all of those that have played their part along this journey feels like an impossibility,” Bale said. “I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn’t ever have 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 managers and coaches, backroom staff, teammates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.”
His last appearance on the pitch was with his national team Wales in the World Cup in their 3-0 defeat versus England. After the game he issued a separate statement to his Welsh family.
“My decision to retire from International football has been by far the hardest of my career.” Bale said.
From Southampton to LAFC he won individual awards and major honors in 17 years. He will be remembered as one of the best British players.