Gareth Bale announces retirement from football

Gareth Bale has retired from football at the age of 33.
The former Tottenham and Real Madrid player confirmed on his social media accounts that he would be retiring from both the club and international game.
In a statement on Monday (09.01.22), Bale said: "After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football. I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love. It has truly given me some of the best moments of my life."
Bale started his career at Southampton as a left-back before transforming into an attacking player during a six-year spell at Tottenham where he became one of the Premier League's top players.
He moved to Spanish giants Real Madrid for a world record £85 million transfer fee in 2013 and went on to win the Champions League five times with the club - becoming one of the most decorated British players ever.
He finished his club career with MLS side Los Angeles FC where he won the Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup in 2022.
Bale enjoyed a successful career at international level for Wales as he made a record 111 appearances and topped the nation's all-time goalscoring charts with 41 goals.
He represented Wales at three major tournaments and helped the nation end a 64-year wait for a World Cup appearance as he captained the team to the finals in 2022.
However, Bale and Wales struggled to perform in Qatar and has now decided to call time on a glittering 17-year career.
He said: "The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me. From my very first touch at Southampton to my last with LAFC and everything in between, shaped a club career that I have an immense pride and gratitude for.
"Playing for and captaining my country 111 times has truly been a dream come true. To show my gratitude to all of those that have played their part along this journey, feels like an impossibility. I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn't have ever dreamed of when I first started out at 9 years old. To my previous clubs, Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and finally LAFC.
"All of my previous managers and coaches, backroom staff, teammates, all the dedicated fans, my agents, my amazing friends and family, the impact you have had is immeasurable. My parents and my sister, without your dedication in those early days, without such a strong foundation, I wouldn't be writing this statement right now, so thank you for putting me on this path and for your unwavering support.
"My wife and my children, your love and support has carried me through. Right beside me for all the highs and lows, keeping me grounded along the way. You inspire me to be better, and to make you proud. So, I move on with anticipation to the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new adventure..."