Wales captain Gareth Bale awarded MBE for services to football and charity

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Wales captain Gareth Bale has been awarded an MBE for services to football and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The 32-year-old is arguably British football’s greatest export after a trophy-laden nine-year spell at Real Madrid.

Bale became the first UK player to win the Champions League on five occasions when Real beat Liverpool in Paris on Saturday – his final involvement for the Spanish club.

Liverpool v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League – Final – Stade de France
Gareth Bale on Saturday collected his fifth Champions League winner’s medal (Nick Potts/PA)

The Cardiff-born forward, who is Wales’ record goalscorer, began his career at Southampton and joined Tottenham in 2007.

Bale was twice named Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year at Spurs before moving to Real in 2013 for a then-world record fee of £85million.

He won LaLiga three times among many titles with Real and scored over 100 goals, including three in Champions League finals – one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two versus Liverpool four years later, the first of which was a stunning overhead kick.

Wales v Republic of Ireland – UEFA Nations League – League B – Group 4 – Cardiff City Stadium
Bale is Wales’ record goalscorer and has also donated to charities in his home country (Mike Egerton/PA)

He inspired Wales to qualification for the 2016 and 2020 European Championships, and will lead the way in their World Cup play-off final on Sunday.

Bale donated over one million euros to hospitals in Wales and Spain in April 2020 in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and has also supported other charities in his home country.

Liverpool midfielder James Milner, who has spent two decades in the Premier League, also receives an MBE.

The 36-year-old was part of the Reds’ squad which won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup this season, but missed out on the Premier League and Champions League titles.

James Milner
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (left) and James Milner stand dejected following the Champions League final at the Stade de France (Peter Byrne/PA)

Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was awarded an OBE, also for services to football and charity.

The 43-year-old won 81 England caps and six Premier League titles, and helped United to Champions League success in 2008.

Mike Summerbee, a star of the Manchester City side of the 1960s and 70s, receives an OBE, as does former Watford and England striker Luther Blissett.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand has worked as a TV pundit following his retirement from football (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Blissett is a patron of the Sporting Memories Foundation – a charity that tackles dementia, loneliness and depression through the power of sport.

Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers Association, has also been awarded an OBE, while former Scotland goalkeeper Alan Rough has been made an MBE.

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