Gareth Bale ends his career at 33

The announcement of Gareth Bale’s retirement from sport, which he shared on his social networks on Monday, is a reflection of his career: both predictable and inconsistent. It concludes a noticeable sporting decline for several years, while coming at an unexpected moment, since the 33-year-old winger was still under contract with his club Los Angeles FC until June, and had publicly projected himself in July ” until Euro 2024 and maybe even further”. But his unspecified performances during the last World Cup, like those of his selection (eliminated in the first round), obviously made him change his mind.

Bale’s astonishing farewell to football thus reflects his intriguing career in high-level football: accompanied by numerous injuries and the strong feeling that on a daily basis, his job did not fascinate him (unlike the practice of golf), but also magnified by an exceptional track record. He is one of the few players to have won the Champions League five times, with Real Madrid between 2014 and 2022 (only Paco Gento, 6 with Real, has done better). The Welshman also holds the records for the number of caps (111) and goals scored (41) within his national team, which he carried by his brilliant strokes to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 (0-2 against Portugal).

He was the most expensive player in the world

His professional career, which began at Southampton in 2006 as a left-back, was also marked by his temporary status as the most expensive player in the world (according to Football Leaks, Madrid bought him for €101m from Tottenham in 2013), his ultra-mediatized association with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema (the famous “BBC”) as well as by his striking and accelerating qualities which marked the spirits. Like, for example, his hat-trick at San Siro with Spurs (3-4 against Inter on October 20, 2010), his raid which offered Real the 2014 King’s Cup at the expense of Barça (2- 1) or his acrobatic return against Liverpool, in the final of the 2018 Champions League (3-1).

« I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to achieve my dream of playing the sport I lovehe wrote. I played at the highest level for seventeen seasons, which it would be impossible to extend, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me. Bale can indeed contemplate his past with pride: despite the questions raised by his career, he has quite simply asserted himself as one of the greatest British players in history.



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