Real Madrid express ‘affection and love’ after Gareth Bale announces retirement

Gareth Bale, who won five Champions Leagues with Real Madrid, has retired (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)
Gareth Bale, who won five Champions Leagues with Real Madrid, has retired (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

Real Madrid have expressed their “affection and love for a great legend” of their club following the retirement of Gareth Bale.

Bale, the Wales captain and former Real and Tottenham star, announced he had decided to hang up his boots at the age of 33 on Monday.

It brings to an end a glittering career in which he earned a record 111 Wales caps and, among other achievements, won five Champions League titles with the Spanish giants.

The Bernabeu club, who signed Bale from Spurs in a then world record £85.1million deal in 2013 and with him he won 19 trophies in total, paid tribute in a statement.

It read: “Real Madrid want to show their thanks, admiration and love for a great legend of our club and world football.

“Gareth Bale was part of our team in one of the most successful eras in our history and will represent forever many of the brightest moments of the past decade.

“His figure will always be linked to the history and legend of our club. Lots of luck, Gareth, and our best wishes to you and your family.”

Cardiff-born Bale began his professional career with Southampton before moving to Spurs for £7million in 2007.

He later returned to the London club on loan during the 2020-21 season before leaving Real permanently for Los Angeles FC. On the international front, his inspired performances helped Wales return to the major tournament stage as they reached the European Championships of 2016 and 2020 as well as last year’s World Cup.

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A tweet from Spurs read: “Thank you for everything, @GarethBale11. Congratulations on an incredible career.”

A further tweet labelled Bale a “genius” and another said “he was born to play for Spurs.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Southampton who also referred to him as a “generational talent” and “one of our own”.