OFFICIAL: sensational, Bale retires at 33!

Gareth Bale says enough: at 33 he retires from playing football. The former Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and last Los Angeles FC striker, with whom he won the MLS, announced his farewell to both clubs and the Wales national team on his social networks.

THE LETTER – “After careful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.

I feel incredibly lucky to have fulfilled my dream of playing the sport I love. It really gave me some of the best moments of my life. The highest of peaks in 17 seasons, something that will be impossible to replicate, whatever the next chapter has in store for me.

From my first touches at Southampton to my last with Los Angeles FC and everything in between, they have forged a club career for which I am immensely proud and grateful. Playing for my country and captaining them 111 times has been a dream come true.

Showing my gratitude to everyone who has played their part in this journey, I think is impossible. I feel indebted to many people who have helped me change my life and forge my career in a way I never could have dreamed of when I started out at 9 years old.

To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally Los Angeles FC. All my coaches, staff, teammates, avid fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you’ve had is immeasurable.

My parents and sister, without your dedication in those early days, without such a strong foundation, I would not be writing this release now, so thank you for setting me on this path and for your unwavering support.

My wife and children, your love and support has kept me going. Beside me through all the ups and downs, keeping my feet on the ground along the way. You have inspired me to do better and to make you proud.

So, I move forward towards the next chapter of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new adventure.”

LETTER TO WALES – “My decision to retire from international football has been the most difficult of my career so far.

How can I describe what it means to me to be a part of this country and this team? How can I explain the impact it has had on my life? How can I put into words what I felt every single time I wore that shirt? My answer is that I can’t do any of these things justice with mere words. But I know that everyone involved in Welsh football feels the magic and is affected in a powerful and unique way, so I know you understand how I feel, without using any words.

My journey internationally has changed not only my life but who I am. The good fortune of being Welsh, being selected to play and captaining Wales, has given me something incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced. I am honored to have been able to play a part in the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and together we have reached unexpected and incredible places.

I shared the locker room with guys who became brothers and a staff that became family. I’ve played for the most amazing coaches and felt the unwavering support and love from the warmest fans in the world. I thank each of you for being with me on this journey.

So for now I’m stepping back, but not from a team that lives in me and flows through my lives. In the end, the dragon on my shirt is all that runs through my veins.”

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OFFICIAL: sensational, Bale retires at 33!

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