has confirmed his departure from after nine years in the Spanish capital, thanking the club’s supporters despite their often fractious relationship.
The Welshman moved to the Bernabeu in 2013 from Tottenham and went on to win three La Liga titles and five Champions League titles – the most recent of which came in this year’s final where Liverpool were beaten 1-0.
Bale faced a significant amount of criticism from Real’s supporters during the latter years of his time at the club, even receiving boos and jeers.
Injuries restricted his game time, though some supporters felt he prioritised playing for Wales ahead of his domestic club and spent too much time on the golf course.
The 32-year-old only played five times in La Liga this past season, and made just two sub appearances in the victorious Champions League campaign, and actually racked up more minutes for Wales than Real.
There was never any suggestion that either party wanted to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the month, and Bale has now confirmed his departure but says he will look back on his time with fondness and pride.
In a statement on Wednesday he wrote: ‘I write this message to say thank you to all my team-mates, past and present, my managers, the back room staff and to the fans that supported me.
‘I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realise my dream of playing for Real Madrid.
‘To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the .
‘I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more.
‘To be a part of this club’s history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.
‘I also want to thank President Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club.
‘Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football. It has been an honour. Thank you! Hala Madrid!’
There had been suggestions Bale might retire when his Real contract expired, but he will continue playing until the World Cup in Qatar later this year at the very least and is expected to join Championship club Cardiff City.
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