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Gareth Bale retires from football – his career in pictures

Gareth Bale retires from football  his career in pictures
The five-times Champions League winner has called time on his career weeks after captaining Wales at their first World Cup since 1958
  • Gareth Bale was born in Cardiff in 1989. He was spotted at a young age by Southampton and joined their academy, making his debut as a 16-year-old here against Millwall on 17 April 2006.

    Photograph: David Field/Reuters/Alamy

    Gareth Bale's debut as a 16-year-old for Southampton against Millwall on 17 April 2006.
  • Bale made his debut for Wales in May 2006 in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.

    Photograph: Jan Pitman/Bongarts/Getty Images

    Bale's debut for Wales in May 2006 in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Bale celebrates after scoring against Norwich in December 2006. He made 45 appearances for Southampton, scoring five goals.

    Photograph: PA

    Bale celebrates scoring against Norwich in December 2006.
  • Bale scores a free-kick against Slovakia in a Euro 2008 qualifier, his first goal for his country.

    Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Bale scores a free-kick against Slovakia in a Euro 2008 qualifier, his first goal for his country.
  • His performances from left-back caught the eye, leading to a move to Tottenham in the summer of 2007. Here he lines up for his debut against Manchester United.

    Photograph: Back Page Images/Shutterstock

    Bale lines up for his Tottenham debut against Manchester United.
  • Bale scored his first goal for Spurs in a London derby against Fulham on 1 September 2007.

    Photograph: Back Page Images/Shutterstock

    Bales scores his first goal for Spurs against Fulham on 1 September 2007.
  • … and a couple of weeks later scored a free-kick to give Spurs the lead against Arsenal at White Hart Lane, although his team went on to lose 3-1.

    Photograph: Back Page Images/Shutterstock

    Bales celebrates after scoring  a free-kick against Arsenal at White Hart Lane in September 2007.
  • Bale recorded his first senior hat-trick against Milan at San Siro in the Champions League in October 2010.

    Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

    Bale scores against Milan at San Siro in the Champions League in October 2010.
  • Bale shows off a boot with a stitched tribute to the late Wales coach Gary Speed after scoring against Bolton in 2011.

    Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA/Shutterstock

    Bale shows off a boot with a stitched tribute to the late Wales coach Gary Speed after scoring against Bolton in 2011.
  • Posing for a portrait for the Guardian during a schools visit in Enfield.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Posing for a portrait for The Guardian during a schools visit in Enfield.
  • Bale scores against West Ham at White Hart Lane in November 2012. His barnstorming performances made clear he was one of the finest talents of his generation.

    Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

    Bale scores against West Ham at White Hart Lane in November 2012.
  • Bale with his PFA Player of the Year Award and his PFA Young Player of the Year Award in 2013. He also won the Football Writers’ award, one of only two players ever to do so.

    Photograph: PA Images/Alamy

    Bale with his PFA Player of the Year Award and his PFA Young Player of the Year Award in 2013. He also won the Football Writers’ award, one of only two players ever to do so.
  • In September 2013, Bale’s excellence won him a move to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee. Here he is presented to the club’s fans.

    Photograph: Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid/Getty Images

    In September 2013, Bale’s excellence won him a move to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee. Here he is presented to the club’s fans.
  • Bale celebrates after scoring on his Madrid debut against Villarreal.

    Photograph: José Jordan/AFP/Getty Images

    Bale celebrates after scoring on his Madrid debut against Villarreal.
  • Leaping for joy after scoring during the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona at Mestalla in Valencia in April 2014.

    Photograph: Dani Pozo/AFP/Getty Images

    Bale leaping for joy after scoring during the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona at Mestalla in Valencia in April 2014.
  • Bale was now the talisman of the Wales team. Here he celebrates one of his two goals against Scotland in Cardiff in 2014.

    Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Bale was now the talisman of the Wales team. Here he celebrates one of his two goals against Scotland in Cardiff in 2014.
  • Bale heads a 110th-minute goal in the 2014 Champions League final against Atlético Madrid, giving Madrid the lead in a game they went on to win 4-1.

    Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Bale heads a 110th-minute goal in the 2014 Champions League final against Atlético Madrid, giving Madrid the lead in a game they went on to win 4-1.
  • Bale celebrates with his daughter at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium the day after winning the 2014 Champions League final. Bale had become the first Welshman to score in a European Cup final.

    Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Bale celebrates with his daughter at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium the day after winning the 2014 Champions League final. Bale had become the first Welshman to score in a European Cup final.
  • Bale helped Wales to qualify for Euro 2016, their first major finals since 1958. Here he scores the third goal in the 3-0 defeat of Russia in the tournament’s group stage.

    Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Bale helped Wales to qualify for Euro 2016, their first major finals since 1958. Here he scores the third goal in the 3-0 defeat of Russia in the tournament’s group stage.
  • Bale joins teammates in celebrating victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals in Lille. They were knocked out in the semi-finals by the eventual champions, Portugal.

    Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

    Bale joins teammates in celebrating victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals in Lille. They were knocked out in the semi-finals by the eventual champions, Portugal.
  • Bale’s home city of Cardiff hosted the 2017 Champions League final, in which Real Madrid defeated Juventus. Bale invited some friends on to the pitch to celebrate.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Bale’s home city of Cardiff hosted the 2017 Champions League final, in which Real Madrid defeated Juventus. Bale invited some friends on to the pitch to celebrate.
  • Another year, another Champions League final, in 2018. Bale scored a spectacular overhead kick in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Kyiv.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Bale scores a spectacular overhead kick in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Kyiv in the final of the 2018 Champions League final
  • Bale poses with a fan at a golf tournament in Madrid in 2019. Celebrating a Wales win that year with a flag that read ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that Order’ went down badly at the Spanish club.

    Photograph: Víctor Lerena/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

    Bale poses with a fan at a golf tournament in Madrid in 2019.
  • Bale made a loan move back to Tottenham in September 2020. He scored a hat-trick against Sheffield United.

    Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Bale celebrates his hat-trick for Spurs against Sheffield United while back with the club on loan
  • Bale wound down his club career in the US with Los Angeles FC, where he won yet another trophy – the MLS Cup in November 2022.

    Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Bale wound down his club career in the US with Los Angeles FC, where he won yet another trophy - the MLS Cup in November 2022.
  • In June 2022 Bale achieved his career ambition of leading Wales to a World Cup finals.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Bale celebrates after achieving his career ambition of leading Wales to a World Cup finals.
  • Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against the United States in the World Cup at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on 21 November 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against the United States at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on 21 November 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
  • Gareth Bale enjoys that moment with teammates in Qatar. ‘I have realised my dream’.

    Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring for his country at the World Cup finals in Qatar.
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