has announced his retirement from club and international football.
The 33-year-old captained Wales at the World Cup in Qatar in December and was playing for Major League Soccer side Los Angeles FC before deciding to end his playing career.
Bale is Wales’ most-capped player with 111 appearances and also holds the record for most goals with 41 for the national side.
At club level, Bale played a key role in Real Madrid’s success over the past decade, winning 15 major trophies included three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues.
Before his £85.3 million move to Madrid in 2013, Bale was named PFA Players’ of the Year on two occasions during his time at Tottenham in the Premier League.
A statement from Bale on Monday read: ‘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 spot I love. It has truly given my 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 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 that 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, backroom 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 the lows, keeping me grounded along the way. You inspire me to be better, and to make you proud.
‘So I move on with anticipation for the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new challenge.’
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