Wales legend Bale retires aged 33

By Sports Desk January 09, 2023

Wales legend Gareth Bale has announced his retirement at the age of 33.

Bale confirmed his decision in a statement on Instagram on Monday, saying he has taken an “opportunity for a new adventure."

The former Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Los Angeles FC forward called time on a 17-year playing career, in which his honours included three LaLiga titles, the Champions League five times and the Club World Cup on three occasions.

Bale’s final appearance came in 3-0 defeat to England as Wales were knocked out of the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar.

He posted 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.

"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 9 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.

"My parents and my sister, without your dedication in those early days, without such a strong foundation, I wouldn't be writing this statement right now, so thank you for putting me on this path and for your unwavering support.

"My wife and my children, your love and support has carried me through. Right beside me for all the highs and lows, keeping me grounded along the way. You inspire me to be better, and to make you proud.

"So, I move on with anticipation to the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new adventure…"

Bale began his career at Southampton before moving to Tottenham, where he spent six seasons and won two PFA Players' Player of the Year awards.

His exploits with Spurs earned him a blockbuster move to Madrid in 2013 for a reported fee of £77million (€91m).

Despite suffering injury issues and often struggling to emerge from Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow, Bale enjoyed some huge highs at the Santiago Bernabeu, including a spectacular winner in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, putting Los Blancos ahead against Atletico Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final and scoring twice against Liverpool to win the 2018 Champions League final.

Being pictured with a flag while on international duty that read ‘Wales, golf, Madrid. In that order' did not go down well with Madrid fans and Bale continued to suffer with injuries.

He left for a spell in Major League Soccer last June, winning the MLS Cup with LAFC on penalties after he equalised in the final against Philadelphia Union in the 128th minute.

Bale starred on the international stage, leading Wales to an improbable run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 as captain, as well as playing a key role in their qualification for the 2022 World Cup, the first they had participated in since 1958.

He finished his international career with 41 goals in 111 caps.

Related items

  • I’m happy in Munich – Eric Dier extends stay at Bayern I’m happy in Munich – Eric Dier extends stay at Bayern

    Eric Dier will remain at Bayern Munich for another season after a pre-agreed clause was met, the Bundesliga giants have said.

    The 30-year-old joined Bayern on loan from Tottenham in January and has made seven appearances.

    With Dier’s Spurs contract set to expire on June 30, an option to make his transfer permanent if he played a certain number of games was included in the deal.

    Dier’s stay at Bayern will now run until at least June 30, 2025, and he said on fcbayern.com: “I’m happy in Munich. Now my future is sorted and I can focus on playing well for the club and trying to help the club to win games, win competitions, even though it’s been a difficult period for us.”

    Dier had made only four appearances for Spurs this season, three of them off the bench, before following former team-mate Harry Kane to Germany.

    The news officially brings to an end Dier’s time at Tottenham, where he made 365 appearances during a nine-and-a-half-year spell.

    Max Eberl, FC Bayern board member for sport, said: “He’s a valuable support in our defence with all his character.”

  • Ange Postecoglou warns players of social media risks after Ryan Sessegnon plea Ange Postecoglou warns players of social media risks after Ryan Sessegnon plea

    Ange Postecoglou has advised his Tottenham players to take social media with a pinch of salt after a difficult week for Ryan Sessegnon.

    Full-back Sessegnon had surgery on his right hamstring on Monday, after an operation on his left hamstring last summer, and called for people to “be careful what you say online” in a post on his social media channels.

    Sessegnon, 23, has endured a torrid time with injuries and faced plenty of abuse on Twitter and Instagram over his fitness woes, but boss Postecoglou likened those platforms to a prison yard.

    “I guess the easy thing to say is, ‘look just stay off social media,’ and that’s easy for me to say,” Postecoglou said.

    “I can do that but I guess for younger people it’s a vehicle for them or a platform for them to have a voice, which I kind of understand.

    “They’ve also got to be mature enough to also know that sometimes the audience, I think for want of a better term, social media is like walking into the prison yard and saying you’re innocent.

    “You’re not going to get a hell of a lot of sympathy. Most of it is going to be coming back at you.

    “If you’re kind of prepared for that then (fine), but if you’re jumping into there to try and feel good, my sense of it is, I’m not all over it but you’ll rarely come away from it feeling really good about yourself.

    “Even with the most genuine of reasons for saying what you want to say or putting out what you want to put out. It’s just that kind of platform you’re invariably going to come away from thinking I probably shouldn’t have said anything.”

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Tottenham Hotspur (@spursofficial)

    Sessegnon is set to spend the rest of the season on the treatment table and is currently joined by Richarlison, who suffered a knee injury during the 2-1 home defeat to Wolves on February 17.

    Richarlison is not expected to return until after the international break and Postecoglou will also be without Pedro Porro (muscle) for Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace.

    Fifth-placed Tottenham will aim to get their Champions League qualification hopes back on track against Palace and their manager expressed his frustration at the stop-start nature of their campaign.

    Early cup exits mean Spurs will only play 41 matches this season and asked if they can make the most of Aston Villa and Manchester United juggling cup commitments, Postecoglou admitted: “I don’t know.

    “It depends how you use that time. If you ask me would I rather be in Europe? Absolutely, 1000 per cent I’d rather be in Europe at this time playing games.

    “A club like us, who want to compete at the highest level against the best, you need a strong squad and to have a strong squad you need consistent games, consistent game time and opportunities.

    “At the moment, if we get an injury then we’re liable to throw in somebody who hasn’t played for four or five weeks. It’s not easy on that player.

    “Whereas if you’ve got games, there’s a natural rotation that you need to make all the time and also gives you a little bit of rhythm.

    “I had the other extreme last year of 60-plus games at Celtic, but I found that a lot easier to manage than having a disrupted season like we’ve had this year.”

  • Dixon's strike the difference between Reggae Boyz and Soca Warriors in opening friendly Dixon's strike the difference between Reggae Boyz and Soca Warriors in opening friendly

    Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz drew first blood against their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts, as they registered a 1-0 win in the first of their two-match friendly series at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday.

    Kaheim Dixon's 58th-minute strike proved the solitary goal of the contest which was played behind closed doors to facilitate preparation for the twin island republic's Carifta Games trials.

    Dixon, the former Clarendon College stalwart, was the first Reggae Boy to score on debut since Justin McMaster's feat against Cameroon in 2022.

    Reggae Boyz assistant coach Merron Gordon said their main objective to expose new talents were met as they fielded 13 debutants on the day.

    "Games like these are always tough playing against Trinidad and Tobago, but I think it was a good game. Both teams, I think had the same objective which was to expose these players as much as possible and I think we got that," Gordon said in a post-match interview.

    "When you see a player like Kahiem score a goal on his debut is amazing and these are the kind of things that we want for them to transition from schoolboy football into international football and I think he acquitted himself well, and young Jayden Hibbert in goal is a teenager as well so that augurs well for us," he added.

    The Jamaicans started well, and were more threatening in open play in the early exchanges, before Trinidad and Tobago's Soca Warriors found their rhythm. Though the first half ended goalless, it wasn't for a lack of trying, as both teams had looks at goal.

    In the 12th minute, Kaihim Thomas got the first effort off for the Soca Warriors from a distance, but Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Kemar Foster took flight to tip over.

    Alex Marshall, who proved a menace to the Soca Warriors's backline, responded for the Reggae Boyz, but his effort was parried by Adrian Foncette, in goal for Trinidad and Tobago.

    Jamaica's Reggae Boyz maintained the momentum on the resumption and again went close through Romeo Guthrie, whose shot was blocked by Foncette at his near post two minutes in.

    The deadlock was eventually broken when Dixon produced an intelligent run down the right channel, dismissed a defender and tucked home.

    They should have doubled the lead in the 65th when Sue-Lae McCalla found himself with space and time to fire home from Guthrie's corner, but somehow steered the effort wide.

    Seconds later, Marshall and Dixon connected well with the latter driving his right-footer into the sidenetting.

    The Reggae Boyz continued to apply consistent pressure but found the Soca Warriors defence in defiant mode, as a 69th-minute effort by Jason Wright from Andre Fletcher's pass, was charged down.

    A minute later, Devante Campbell played a perfect pass across the face of goal, but Wright couldn't apply finishing touch.

    Campbell also had a grand opportunity to get on the scoresheet in time added, when he found himself in a one-on-one situation with substitute goalkeeper Christopher Biggette, but his tame effort was swallowed up by the custodian, who left his line well.

    Despite the scoreline, Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve, took heart from the performance.

    "Not disappointed at all. Many of these players are playing at this level for the very first time and I think they acquitted themselves well and we were in the game for the most part, but we gave away a sloppy goal that proved the difference in the game. We want to give people exposure as you can see, we made minimum number of changes because we wanted to expose the young guys as much as possible. So, this is a good exercise for them to understand the pace of the game at this level going forward," Eve said.

    The teams will meet again on Sunday at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima at 3:00pm Jamaica time.

    NB: That game can also be seen live on SportsMax 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.