Gareth Bale retires from football with immediate effect 4 weeks ago

Gareth Bale retires from football with immediate effect

Bale will be remembered as Wales' most successful-ever player.

Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from professional football with immediate effect.

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Bale confirmed the news in an emotional social media post on Monday in which he paid tribute to all of his family, as well as the clubs he played for throughout a largely successful career.

He released a separate statement saying goodbye to the Wales team and fans.

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He 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. 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."

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Bale came through the ranks at Southampton, but it was at Tottenham and Real Madrid that he really made his name.

The full-back turned winger made headlines when he gave Inter Milan full-back Maicon a torrid time in a 3-1 win for Spurs before joining Real Madrid for a then-record fee of £85.1m in 2013.

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There Bale went on to win three La Liga titles, five Champions League trophies - winning one of each last season - plus three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups, the Copa Del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.

His time in Spain was a tumultuous one as the fans of Los Blancos failed to warm to him while he was also involved with public fallings out with former manager Zinedine Zidane.

It was his international career though where he will be remembered most. The start of his Wales tenure saw his nation languishing in the lower echelons of international football, however, his presence helped guide the country to the best spell in their history.

Not only did they qualify for Euro 2016, reaching the semi-finals before a heartbreaking defeat against Portugal, they also reached their first World Cup finals since 1958.

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