Gareth Bale has announced his retirement from professional football after an 18-year career.
The 33 year-old winger made the surprise announcement via social media on Monday morning.
“After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.
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.”
LAFC also announced Bale’s retirement via a press release thanking him for his contributions during his short time with the club.
“We want to thank Gareth for everything he brought to our Club. He arrived with a goal to win championships in L.A., and like everywhere else in his career he succeeded,” said President and General Manager John Thorington.
Bale came to LAFC last July via transfer having played for Tottenham Hotspur in England and collecting five Champions League championships with Spanish giant Real Madrid.
Bale, Wales men’s all-time leading goalscorer, represented his country in 111 matches and helped reach the semifinals of the 2016 UEFA Euro and round of 16 of the 2020 edition.
This past November Bale captained the Welsh National team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, their first appearance in the tournament since 1958. His retirement announcement also comes just over a month after vowing to continue playing after Wales’s disappointing group-stage exit.
Bale never started for LAFC instead, made 13 appearances with the club as a substitute scoring a combined three goals for the club. However, it was his last goal that cemented him as a Club Legend.
Bale scored the equalizer in the 128th minute of the 2022 MLS Cup Final in stoppage time to send the match into penalty kicks. LAFC would then go to win and lift their first MLS Cup trophy.
Bale also collected a Supporters Shield medal as LAFC won the domestic double during the 2022 season.
With Bale’s retirement, LAFC now has a clear path to an open Designated Player spot as Bale’s contract was set to become a DP deal in the summer months. LAFC will also gain a financial windfall as the salary cap space will significantly open up in time for new addition(s).