For the greater part of the 2010s, Gareth Bale was one of the most electrifying wingers in the world of European football. However, all good things come to an end. On Monday morning, Bale announced his retirement from professional football, for both club and country, on his official Twitter account.

Bale penned a heartfelt statement detailing the rationale behind his decision all the while thanking those that have been part of his incredible journey from a young up-and-coming left back at Southampton to his development as an exciting winger at Tottenham, to one of the world’s best at Real Madrid.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised 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,” Bale wrote. “So I move on with anticipation to the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for an new adventure…”

(You can read Gareth Bale’s full statement below.)

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Gareth Bale is retiring following a successful 2022, having most recently led LAFC to its first-ever MLS Cup win in a rousing penalty shootout victory over Philadelphia Union. Bale scored a crucial goal, a towering header, in added injury time during extra time to tie the game at three apiece.

Moreover, Bale played in his first-ever World Cup for Wales, after leading his country to only their second-ever appearance in a World Cup with a crucial goal against Ukraine during the qualifiers. However, Bale’s World Cup run was cut short at the group stage after Wales placed at the bottom of their group.

Capable of dazzling crowds and leaving defenses in the dust with his incredible pace and masterful dribbling, Gareth Bale was an instrumental part of Real Madrid’s success following his transfer to the Los Blancos in 2013. Blessed with a stellar left foot, Bale fit in perfectly in a front three alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, with Real Madrid having won four UEFA Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles during his stint.

Bale may not have had the most stellar end to his career, particularly at Real Madrid, but his retirement means that world football has lost one of its greats over the past 15 years.