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Gareth Bale retires from football at the age of 33

Gareth Bale has retired from professional football at the age of 33.

The former Tottenham and Real Madrid forward, who spent last season at LAFC in MLS, was part of Wales’ squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Bale has described the decision to quit international football as “by far the hardest of my career”.

Bale’s career in numbers

Gareth Bale Photo/Skysports

111 – Record number of caps for Wales’ men’s national team.

41 – A national men’s team goal-scoring record, eclipsing the previous best of 28 by Ian Rush.

85 – Real Madrid made Bale the most expensive player in world football when they signed him from Tottenham for £85.3million in September 2013.

5 – Champions League titles at Real Madrid.

106 – Goals scored at Real Madrid.

4 – Clubs Bale played for: Southampton, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Los Angeles FC.

16 – Bale was 16 years and 315 days old when he became the youngest player to play for his country on May 27, 2006. Harry Wilson claimed the record in October 2013 when he played against Belgium at the age of 16 years and 207 days.

17 – Became Wales’ youngest ever goal scorer on October 7, 2006  scoring against Slovakia in a Euro 2008 qualifier with a trademark free-kick.

– First Wales player to score two international hat-tricks against China in March 2018 and Belarus in September 2021.

– Goals in Euro 2016 qualifying as Wales ended a 58-year wait to play at a major tournament.

3 – Goals against England, Slovakia and Russia at Euro 2016. In doing so, he became the first player to score in all three group games at the Euros since Milan Baros and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004.

2 – Free-kicks. Deadly set-pieces at Euro 2016 saw Bale become the first player to score two free-kicks at a European Championship since Germany’s Thomas Hassler in 1992.

58 – Became the first Wales player to score at a major international tournament for 58 years with his swerving free-kick against Slovakia.

64 – Bale became the first Wales player to score at a World Cup for 64 years in Qatar. The previous goal had been scored by Terry Medwin against Hungary at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas