In a shocking decision, sporting icon, Gareth Bale, has taken to social media to call time on his legendary career.
In an astonishing 17-year run, the Welshman solidified his legacy as one of the greatest British players of all time. After making 166 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur, he signed a world record £85.3 million deal with Real Madrid, where he won three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues, featuring an incredible bicycle kick against Liverpool.
Following the end of his stint at the Bernebeu, the forward signed for LAFC. And in yet another incredible moment, he scored the winning goal in the MLS Cup against Philadelphia. But while his club career ended triumphantly, perhaps his nation’s difficult World Cup prompted him to call it a day.
After a tremendous 2018 World Cup, Wales hoped to emulate the same success. But after a shock loss to Iran and a hammering at the hands of England, their 64-year-long wait to play in the competition ended in disaster.
And on January 9, he revealed the news on Twitter.
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Gareth Bale retires
He told his 19 million followers: “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.”
You can see the full statement below.
Gareth Bale says goodbye to Wales
He then released a second statement to address his countrymen.
It read: “My decision to retire from international football has been, by far the hardest of my career.
“How do I describe what being a part of this country and team means to me? How do I articulate the impact it has had on my life? And how do I put into words the way I felt, every single time I put on that Welsh shirt?
“My answer is that I couldn’t possibly do any of those things justice, simply with words. But I know that every person involved in Welsh football, feels the magic, and is impacted in such a powerful and unique way. So I know you feel what I feel, without using any words at all.”
He continued: “My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am. The fortune of being Welsh and being selected to play for and captain Wales, has given me something incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced.
“I am honoured and humbled to have been able to play a part in the history of this incredible country. And to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and together have been to unexpected and amazing places.
“I shared a dressing room with boys that became brothers, and backroom staff that became family. I played for the most incredible managers. Furthermore, I felt the undying support and love from the most dedicated fans in the world. Thank you to every one of you for being on this journey with me.
“So, for now, I am stepping back. But not away from the team that lives in me and runs through my veins. After all, the dragon on my shirt is all I need.”
Featured Image Credit: ESPN