Gareth Bale retires from his career: Wales and golf for life

Gareth Bale presented his last solo run to the world in a double form. Earlier this week, he issued two announcements with similar content through the usual online channels: one for the general public and one for his native Wales. “To my Welsh family,” read the opening words of a somewhat kitschy farewell letter, “the decision to end football is by far the most difficult decision of my career.”

More than. Gareth Bale, 33, is retiring after 111 caps for both club and national team – he will of course always be linked with the Red Dragons of Britain’s western hill country, he said assured. His teammates started with him as “boys” back then, today they are like “brothers”. And even if one looks at Bale’s 17 years as a professional with less pathos, a remarkable career ends there with one final flourish.

One with titles won and goals that others don’t even dare to dream of, on the one hand. Bale is part of the post-galactic generation who achieved the unprecedented feat of winning the Champions League five times at Real Madrid (plus three league titles, four Club World Cups and a Copa del Rey). After moving to Madrid in 2013 as the first $100 million man in world football, he scored 106 goals there. And what genres, above all: what decisive ones.

Gareth Bale scored important goals in Madrid – many beautiful ones

His header in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool certainly deserves a special place in the Louvre of legendary goals, a work full of madness with which he scored the 2-1 (he later scored the 3-1). Also unforgettable was his supersonic sprint against Barça in the 2014 Cup final, which definitely destabilized poor defender Marc Bartra. Or his breathless one-touch against Dortmund in 2017. Or his shock appearance in the semi-finals of Guardiola, during his most painful bankruptcy as Bayern coach in 2014 (0-4).

Because of these merits, they have now tied a farewell garland to him at Real: “Bale was part of our squad in one of the most successful phases in our history and will always represent many of the brightest moments in the last decade.” The list of his great deeds could be continued and should of course also include his debut as a constant runner and force of nature at Tottenham Hotspur.

Single-goal glory: Gareth Bale scores a header to make it 2-1 against Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.

(Photo: David Ramos/Getty)

Just like his work as a solo artist with the Welsh. Bale led his home country to fourth place in the 2016 European Championship – alongside second and third division professionals. If anyone has scored for Wales, it’s 40-time goalscorer Bale, for whom the term ‘folk hero’ is an understatement. He recently became the first Welshman in 64 years to score a ball at a World Cup, from a penalty against the United States.

Speaking of which: the fact that Bale himself was champion with Los Angeles FC in its final leg of the MLS frivolous league last October went unnoticed, but it underscores the impression that everywhere where he was, there were titles. But sometimes also unflattering like that of Europe’s most important “zero buck kicker” – and that’s the downside of this decorated, but somehow tainted career. Because it could have been more for Bale if he hadn’t gone on a weird permanent strike at some point.

In his late stage at Madrid, he shared a relationship of mutual ignorance with Real coach Zinedine Zidane. the strict Sir Didn’t think much of Bale, the high-profile transfer of president Florentino Pérez, whom he considered equally critical. Zidane left Bale to sour between the bench and the stands for years, after which the once famous member of the hit group ‘BBC’ (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo) preferred to take time off from his contract on the pitches of world golf. The outrage was huge against someone who cashed in and just threw their talent away, who pretended to sleep in the box – or in an international game with colleagues waving a flag that read: “Wales. Golf. Madrid – in that order.”

Bale just had his priorities, which he eventually articulated without hesitation. Before saying goodbye to the sporting insignificance towards the USA (and Orange County golf clubs), he explained in The Hat-Trick podcast in 2020: “I think more and more players want to move in America. This also applies to me, after all, I like to go to Los Angeles on vacation.” He’s got plenty now.

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