Gareth Bale, one of the best players in world soccer over the last decade, announced his plans to retire from the sport. Bale spent time most of his career with Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. However, he started his career with Southampton before ending it with LAFC.

The Gareth Bale retires from soccer following a message on social media.

Representing Wales, Bale led the the Dragons to a number of highs, setting records along the way. For example, Wales reached the semifinals of Euro 2016. That was the nation’s first appearance in the tournament. On the way to the semifinals, Bale scored in each of the three group stage games.

Yet, his crowning achievement of his international career was getting Wales back to the World Cup in 2022. In the playoff phase to reach Qatar, Bale scored a brace against Austria. Then, he scored the only goal of the game against Ukraine to get Wales to its first World Cup since 1958. Bale scored Wales’ only goal of the tournament, a penalty to salvage a draw against the United States.

Bale had an interesting club career, to say the least. After rising through the ranks at Southampton, the Welshman joined Tottenham for just shy of $20 million. After winning PFA Players’ Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2013 with Spurs, Real Madrid broke the bank to acquire the winger. Los Blancos paid a then-record fee of $132 million.

Bale won an assortment of trophies in Spain. Three LaLiga titles, a Copa del Rey where he scored one of the most famous goals of his career against Barcelona, three Supercopas de España, three UEFA Supercupa and four FIFA Club World Cups.

Yet, the best of those is five UEFA Champions League titles, playing a key role in many of those Finals.

Gareth Bale retires from soccer

Real Madrid supporters recall Bale’s brace against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League Final, including a masterful overhead kick to give Real a lead they would not relinquish. In the 2014 Champions League Final, Bale scored the eventual winner in extra time against Atletico Madrid.

However, despite scoring over a century of goals in his over 250 appearances with Real Madrid, supporters are not overly fond of Bale. Injury issues and at times a lack of commitment caused Madrid fans to whistle and boo at Bale.

Of course, it did not help that after qualifying for Euro 2020, Wales displayed a flag with Bale that read “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.” That rubbed supporters of Real Madrid the wrong way, perhaps correctly so.

Regardless, Bale moved away from the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2022. He landed in MLS, where he would spend the last several months of his playing career. In true Bale fashion, he popped up when it counted most, scoring an equalizer deep into stoppage time of extra time. LAFC went on to win its first MLS Cup, giving Bale the last trophy of his career.

Even though his club career produced fantastic returns, Bale is more proud of his time with Wales. He set the record for appearances and goals with the national team. He had a special message for those in his home nation when he announced his retirement.

“So for now I am stepping back, but not away from the team that lives in me and runs through my veins. After all, the dragon on my shirt is all I need.”