Wales legend Gareth Bale has announced his retirement aged 33.
The forward joined Los Angeles FC just seven months ago, but has seemingly made his decision after Wales’ disappointing World Cup campaign – the first since 1958.
After a 17-year playing career that took him from Southampton to Real Madrid, Bale retires as one of the most successful British players of all-time and undoubtedly the best to ever don the crimson shirt of Wales.
Though the latter half of his career was mimised due to injuries, I believe we can make a case that Bale may be one of the very best footballers this glorious island has ever produced. Never loved in Spain, Bale’s passion for golf and shy demeanor rubbed some Madrid fans the wrong way. Nevertheless, he remained beloved in his native country, and always seemed to deliver the goods when needed.
As he calls time on his career, let’s take a minute to reflect on the exploits of Gareth Bale.
The name Gareth Bale first came to the footballing public during his time at Southampton, who were then playing in the Championship.
The young left-back built a reputation as being a free-kick wizard, scoring impressive goals against Derby County, Coventry City, Hull City, and Norwich City.
Bale’s notable performances and wonderful left foot earned him a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007.
A £5 million transfer fee was, in 2007, a large sum for a player coming from the second-tier, and hopes were high he could develop into one of the best full-backs in the division.
The move, however, got off to a rotten start as Bale failed to be on the winning side for 24 Premier League games. A move to Birmingham City was rumored, and many felt as though Tottenham were ripped-off by Southampton.
Bale finally tasted victory in his 25th Tottenham appearance – two years after first arriving at White Hart Lane.
The following year, 2010, was to be a pivotal one in Bale’s career as an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto forced Harry Redknapp to deploy the Welshman in the starting XI. Nobody could have foreseen his performance against Inter Milan on 20 October 2010 – especially considering that the famous Italian side were the reigning European champions.
Bale scored 3 second half goals and almost won the game on his own. Even though Spurs lost 4-3, all of the headlines were on the 21-year-old’s performance.
Bale continued to go from strength to strength – earning a reputation as the Premier League’s best player and moving up the field from defence to attack.
Just four years after being considered a flop, Gareth Bale secured a world-record move to Real Madrid and would soon be playing with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Iconic goals in the 2014 Copa Del Rey and 2018 Champions League finals etched the Welshman’s name in footballing folklore, and Bale would leave Madrid nine years later with 5 Champions League trophies.
Despite what you may think of Bale’s last few years at Real Madrid, there’s no denying he was an integral part of the side who dominated Europe.
If you ask me, Gareth Bale has fully earned his retirement and I hope the Los Angeles golf courses are up to his world-class standards.
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