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Wales superstar Gareth Bale retires

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Wales superstar and five-time Champions League winner Gareth Bale announced Monday that he's retiring from club and international football.

"After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football," he announced on Twitter.

"I feel incredibly fortunate to have realized 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."

The 33-year-old ends his illustrious career as one of Britain's most decorated players after spells at Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, and Los Angeles FC.

At Real Madrid, he was a member of five Champions League-winning teams and played an important role in helping the Spanish giants win La Liga three times, as well as other major trophies.

He's also Wales' all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in 111 appearances.

Bale was under contract at LAFC until this summer but decided to hang up his boots just over a month after playing for Wales at the 2022 World Cup. It was Wales' first World Cup appearance since 1958.

"My decision to retire from international football has been by far the hardest of my career," Bale said in a separate statement, adding, "My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am."

After making his professional debut with Southampton at 16, Bale moved to north London, where he developed into a global superstar at Tottenham.

His career continued to blossom after a transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 that was worth a then-record £85.3 million - over £5 million more than the fee Los Blancos paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years earlier.

Bale lived up to the billing over his first few years in Madrid before his relationship with the club and fans soured.

He was eventually loaned back to Tottenham last season before joining LAFC midway through the 2022 Major League Soccer season. He scored a header in the 128th minute of extra time during the MLS Cup final to send the game to a penalty shootout, which LAFC won to capture the league title.

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