Former Wales and Real Madrid forward Bale announces retirement from football

Gareth Bale holds a Wales flag up Credit: Alamy
Gareth Bale holds a Wales flag up Credit: Alamy

Former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from club and international football.

Bale, Wales’ most-capped men’s player with 111 appearances, wrote on Instagram: “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 has truly given me some of the best moments of my life. The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.”

The 33-year-old added: “From my very first touch at Southampton to my last with LAFC and everything in between, shaped a club career that I have an immense pride and gratitude for. Playing for and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true.

“To show my gratitude to all of those that have played their part along this journey, feels like an impossibility. I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn’t have ever dreamed of when I first started out at nine years old.

“To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally LAFC. All of my previous managers and coaches, back room staff, team mates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable.”

Here, the PA news agency looks at the numbers behind his distinguished Wales career.

111 – Record number of caps for Wales’ men’s national team.

41 – A national men’s team goalscoring record, eclipsing the previous best of 28 by Ian Rush.

85 – Real Madrid made Bale the most expensive player in world football when they signed him from Tottenham for £85.3million in September 2013.

5 – Champions League titles at Real Madrid.

106 – Goals scored at Real Madrid

4 – Clubs Bale played for: Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Los Angeles FC.

16 – Bale was 16 years and 315 days old when he became the youngest player to play for his country on May 27, 2006. Harry Wilson claimed the record in October 2013 when he played against Belgium at the age of 16 years and 207 days.

17 – Became Wales’ youngest ever goalscorer on October 7, 2006 – scoring against Slovakia in a Euro 2008 qualifier with a trademark free-kick.

2 – First Wales player to score two international hat-tricks – against China in March 2018 and Belarus in September 2021.

7 – Goals in Euro 2016 qualifying as Wales ended a 58-year wait to play at a major tournament.

3 – Goals against England, Slovakia and Russia at Euro 2016. In doing so, he became the first player to score in all three group games at the Euros since Milan Baros and Ruud Van Nistelrooy in 2004.

2 – Free-kicks. Deadly set-pieces at Euro 2016 saw Bale become the first player to score two free-kicks at a European Championship since Germany’s Thomas Hassler in 1992.

58 – Became the first Wales player to score at a major international tournament for 58 years with his swerving free-kick against Slovakia.

64 – Bale became the first Wales player to score at a World Cup for 64 years in Qatar. The previous goal had been scored by Terry Medwin against Hungary at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

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