Known for his extraordinary speed and technical abilities, and considered to be an exceptional striker, Gareth Bale is one of the most popular football players in the world. Starting off his career as a defender, it eventually became clear that Bale belonged at the forefront. His successful career spans over 16 years, making him one of the most prolific football players of his generation.
Gareth Bale announces his retirement from professional football
On January 9, the Welsh footballer announced his retirement from professional football. Renowned as one of Britain’s most decorated players, Bale decided to step away from the sport midway through his contract at Los Angeles FC which was due to expire this summer.
In a statement, he said: “My decision to retire from international football has been by far the hardest of my career. My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am.”
Check out his entire statement below:
Other players and fans took to Twitter to appreciate the footballer’s contribution to the sport and paid heart-warming tributes.
Gareth Bale’s retirement: Looking back at his legendary career
Gareth’s career highlights
At 16, Bale debuted at Southampton where he scored many goals and established himself as a free kick expert. By 2007, he had the attention of major football clubs including Tottenham where he signed a four-year deal.
After spending six years at Tottenham, many clubs showed interest in him and he decided to join Real Madrid in the latter half of 2013. In January 2014, his fee was recorded to be EUR 100.8 million, which was a world record at the time and even surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s EUR 94 million salary.
At Real Madrid, the star won five Champions Leagues (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022), three La Liga titles and three FIFA Club World Cups. During the latter stages of his tenure at the Spanish club, he was plagued with injuries that started taking a toll on him and forced him to sit out many important matches. Yet, he contributed to some of the most iconic moments in Los Blancos’ recent history, including his stunning overhead kick in their 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.
As a result, his career saw both match-winning performances and long absences from the pitch. He himself was quoted as saying, “If it wasn’t for injuries, my name would be in the same debate with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.” He finished his tenure at Real Madrid with 106 goals and 67 assists in 258 league games.
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On an individual level, the athlete has also won countless awards. He was the Player of the Season for Premier League’s 2012-13 season and was also included in the UEFA Team of the Year twice, in 2011 and 2013. His impact on the Wales national team also made him a six-time recipient of the Welsh Footballer of the Year award.
Bale spent the 2020-21 season at Tottenham on loan and finished his career in the United States with LAFC. His last match and 11th international appearance came at the 2022 Qatar World Cup where Wales, unfortunately, lost to England by a score of 3-0.
Gareth Bale’s net worth
As of January 2023, Gareth Bale’s net worth is reported to be USD 145 million. In addition to his annual USD 25 million salary, he also earns an estimated USD 9 million from brand endorsements.
According to Forbes, between June 2017 and June 2018, he earned USD 35 million from his salary and endorsements. In 2013, he made the smart decision of trademarking his heart-shaped goal celebration along with his number-11 shirt for future official merchandise. Bale is also a regular addition to soccer video games such as FIFA.
Adidas, Lucozade, EA Sports, and BT Sport are some of his most notable brand endorsements. Bale also earns a significant income through his Instagram page as he charges a whopping USD 185,000 per sponsored post. In fact, he is second only to former English footballer David Beckham in this regard.
Properties and car collection
According to The Sun, in 2013, Bale was renting the former residence of Brazilian footballer Kaká. The 1,500-square-meter mansion sits in the La Finca area west of Madrid. Later, he moved to a permanent space of his own, a stunning GBP 6.5 million home.
Like other sportsmen, Bale also loves his cars and has a vast collection of fancy wheels. These include a Bentley Continental GT (USD 92,952), a Mercedes SLS AMG (221,580), Audi Q7 50 TDI (USD 55,800), and a Lamborghini Huracan (USD 242,445). He also has a stunning golf course on his property.
Apart from football, the Welsh star also has an interest in business ventures where he’s been investing for quite some time.
In 2022, Bale’s own restaurant and bar Par 59 opened its doors on St Mary’s Street in Cardiff. The footballer has another venture, titled The Depot, which is a bar and mini-golf destination in the Welsh capital’s city centre. The Depot has even opened a second branch in Bristol on Millennium Promenade. Last year, he also made an investment in Penderyn Distillery, becoming one of 61 shareholders in the whisky business. This also gave him the opportunity to create his own single malt named ‘Yma o Hyd’.
While we don’t know what Gareth Bale will be up to after he retires, it’s perhaps a safe prediction to make that he might be spending most of his time golfing. In fact, it was revealed that Bale and a number of other high-profile athletes invested in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s new golf venture TGL, a stadium-based, high-tech golf league in conjunction with the PGA Tour. It is due to start in January 2024 and will rival LIV Golf, according to a report by Wales Online.
(Hero and feature image credit: Courtesy Instagram/ Gareth Bale)