Gareth Bale, a footballing legend for Wales, announced his retirement from the sport in a heartfelt letter on social media.

The former Real Madrid player has ended his brilliant career, which included victories in three La Ligas, five Champions Leagues, and three Club World Cups. On Monday afternoon, the 33-year-old posted a heartfelt letter on social media to say goodbye to the supporters.  

Wales’ all-time appearance and goalscorer led his country out of the international wilderness, qualifying for two European Championships, reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals, and winning the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The Los Angeles FC forward, who previously played for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Real Madrid, made his final competitive appearance on November 29 against England in Wales’ World Cup group stage match.

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Did Gareth Bale deserve Ballon Dor in 2018?

Despite not having his best season with Real Madrid in 2017, Bale still managed to score 16 goals in just 26 games (20 starts) in 2018. But it was in Kiev that he shone brightest, with a stunning bicycle kick finish against Liverpool that put the club up 2-1 in the final. He added an insurance goal for good measure, and was instrumental in his club’s third consecutive Champions League victory.

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In 2017, Bale won his fourth UEFA Champions League title with Real Madrid.

Gareth Bale made only 20 La Liga starts in 2017 and three in the UEFA Champions League. He scored 21 goals for Real Madrid last season but was sidelined for much of the season due to injuries.

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He was unable to motivate Wales, which failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Though he remains one of the best forwards in the world, a 17th-place finish begs many questions. For a player who didn’t play in the World Cup and only made three Champions League starts, he should consider himself fortunate to be in the top 20.