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G. Bale

'Unforgettable' - Gareth Bale thanked for Real Madrid memories by Ancelotti after retiring at 33

11:49 SAST 2023/01/10
Gareth Bale Real Madrid Champions League trophy
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has thanked Gareth Bale for the “unforgettable” memories he has left behind after heading into retirement.
  • Welsh star hanging up his boots
  • Enjoyed trophy-laden spell in Spain
  • Former boss & club pay tributes

WHAT HAPPENED? The former Wales international announced on Monday that he will be hanging up his boots with immediate effect at the age of 33. Bale last turned out for LAFC at club level, helping them to MLS Cup glory in 2022, but previously represented Tottenham and Real Madrid with distinction – winning 16 major trophies during his time in Spain, including three La Liga titles and five Champions League crowns, while also earning a record-setting haul of 111 caps for his country.

WHAT THEY SAID: Bale delivered many memorable moments over the course of his career – including a European hat-trick for Spurs against Inter and a Champions League final bicycle kick goal for Real – with Ancelotti looking back fondly on his time spent working with the Welshman at Santiago Bernabeu. The Italian coach has said in a social media post, alongside an image of Bale scoring a stunning solo goal for the Blancos against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final: “Unforgettable… Thank you Gareth Bale.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Real have also paid tribute to a man that made history during his time in Spain, saying in a statement on the club’s official website: “Following Gareth Bale's announcement that he will retire from professional football, Real Madrid C. F. would like to express its gratitude, admiration and affection for a true legend of our club and the world game. Gareth Bale arrived at Real Madrid in 2013 and played in our colours for 9 years, winning 19 trophies: 5 European Cups, 4 Club World Cups, 3 European Super Cups, 3 La Liga titles, 1 Copa del Rey and 3 Spanish Super Cups. On an individual level, he was named Best Player of the 2018 Champions League final and got his hands on the Golden Ball at the Club World Cup the same year.

“Gareth Bale was part of our team during one of the most successful periods in our history. He will long be remembered for his involvement in some of the most remarkable moments of the past decade, including his unforgettable run in the 2014 Copa del Rey final in Valencia, his crucial goal in the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon, and his brace in the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev, most notably the bicycle kick which will live forever in the minds of football lovers around the globe. His name will be forever bound to our club's history and its legend. Good luck, Gareth, and all the best to you and your family.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Bale is yet to reveal what his immediate future will hold, having bowed out on the back of a World Cup finals outing for Wales in Qatar, but is expected to spend plenty of time on the golf course after generating lively debate regarding his love of a different kind of club during a distinguished career at the very highest level in football.