Wales captain Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 after a glittering career.
The nation’s most-capped male player and record men’s goalscorer announced his decision on social media.
Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is arguably Wales’ finest ever footballer.
“After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football,” Bale said.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love.”
Cardiff-born Bale’s club career took him from Southampton to Tottenham Hotspur and a world record transfer to Spanish giants Real before his move to Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC in June 2022.
He was his country’s talisman as they reached the 2016 and 2020 European Championships before he led Wales at their first World Cup since 1958 at Qatar 2022, ending his international career with 41 goals in 111 appearances.
Bale was twice named footballer of the year while at Tottenham, in 2010-11 and 2012-13, and moved to Real for what was then a world-record fee of more than £80m in September 2013.
During his time in the Spanish capital, Bale helped Real win three league titles and five Champions League titles – a number no other British player has matched – along with three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and a Spanish cup.
“It [football] has truly given me some of the best moments of my life,” added Bale.
“The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me.”