Gareth Bale retires from football aged 33


"After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football," said Gareth Bale of Wales. .

"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," 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."

Bale, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, is arguably Wales' finest ever footballer.

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.