Real Madrid recognise 'true legend of our club' as Gareth Bale retires

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Real Madrid have paid tribute to former superstar Gareth Bale after the Wales international called an end to his playing career on Monday.

Bale joined Madrid from Tottenham in 2013 and spent nine years in Spain, albeit he headed back to Spurs on loan in 2020-21.

The 33-year-old won three LaLiga titles, a Copa dey Rey, five Champions League titles and three Club World Cups in his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He was not always universally popular with the fans despite scoring 106 goals in 258 games for the club, particularly after being pictured with a flag while on international duty that read: "Wales, golf, Madrid. In that order."

However, having left the Spanish capital for Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer in June, Los Blancos posted a statement on their website on Monday to celebrate their former forward.

"Following Gareth Bale's announcement that he will retire from professional football, Real Madrid C. F. would like to express its gratitude, admiration and affection for a true legend of our club and the world game," it read.

"Gareth Bale was part of our team during one of the most successful periods in our history. He will long be remembered for his involvement in some of the most remarkable moments of the past decade, including his unforgettable run in the 2014 Copa del Rey final in Valencia [v Barcelona], his crucial goal in the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon [v Atletico Madrid], and his brace in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv [v Liverpool], most notably the bicycle kick which will live forever in the minds of football lovers around the globe.

"His name will be forever bound to our club's history and its legend.

"Good luck, Gareth, and all the best to you and your family."