Bale says Madrid career was 'honour' in heartfelt tribute before exit

Gareth Bale confirms his Real Madrid exit with a heartfelt message on his ‘incredible experience’ – including a version written in Spanish – but leaves the door open for what comes next with shock retirement a possibility

  • Gareth Bale is set to bring the curtain down on his Real Madrid stint this summer
  • The Welshman has won a host of major honours since joining Real back in 2013
  • Ahead of his departure, Bale has bid farewell to the club in an emotional post
  • He says it was an ‘incredible experience’ that he will ‘never forget’ in Madrid 

Gareth Bale has bid farewell to Real Madrid in an emotional post on social media, insisting his nine-year stay at the Bernabeu was an ‘incredible experience’ that he will ‘never forget’.

The Welshman won a host of major trophies after leaving Tottenham to complete a then-world-record £90million move to Madrid in 2013, including five Champions Leagues and three Spanish titles.

He scored three goals in Champions League finals for the club, helping them reach La Decima against Atletico Madrid in 2014 before scoring twice against Liverpool four years later.

Gareth Bale has bid farewell to Real Madrid after nine years in an emotional post online

Bale is now set to depart upon the expiry of his contract this summer, having suffered a fall from grace at the Bernabeu in recent years mainly due to fitness problems.

And despite his fractured relationship with supporters of late, Bale has thanked Los Blancos and insisted it was an ‘honour’ to play for the club in a heartfelt farewell message.

‘I write this message to say thank you to all my team mates, past and present, my managers, the backroom staff and to the fans that supported me,’ he said on Twitter.

‘I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realise my dream of playing for Real Madrid. To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the Champions League.

‘I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more.

Bale enjoyed great success in Madrid after completing a then-world-record move in 2013

He won nine major trophies in his time at the club, including five Champions League titles

‘To be a part of this club’s history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player, has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

‘I also want to thank President Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez, and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club. Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football.

‘It has been an honour. Thank you! HALA MADRID!’ 

Bale enjoyed a breathtaking start to his time in Madrid, scoring 88 goals in his first 189 appearances while sweeping up four Champions Leagues, La Liga and the Copa del Rey. 

However, the final four years of his Bernabeu career did not prove as successful. A series of injury problems and a subsequent dip in form restricted him to merely another 69 appearances, with Los Blancos even deciding to send him back to Spurs on loan in the 2020/21 campaign.

Despite his decline and lack of fitness Bale refused to throw in the towel on his Madrid career, seeing out the final year of his contract while featuring just five times in La Liga.

But the final years of his career at the Bernabeu were marred by a series of injury problems

Marca launched a stunning attack on Bale earlier this year, branding the player a ‘parasite’ 

However, the Welshman insists his time with Los Blancos has been an ‘honour’ regardless

This earned him furious criticism from both supporters and the Spanish press, with Marca launching an extraordinary attack on the 32-year-old earlier this year. 

When he returned to fitness after a spell on the sidelines at Real and scored on international duty for Wales, the publication hit out at Bale and branded him a ‘parasite’ who was ‘sucking Madrid’s euros’.

He was also subjected to jeers at the Bernabeu during that period, yet before waving goodbye Bale was finally given a warm reception during their Champions League party last weekend.

The winger was not involved in their final triumph over Liverpool, but as he lapped up the celebrations Madrid fans were even heard cheering his name.

Bale is now set to become a free agent when his contract expires in July, meaning he will be available for clubs to snap up without a transfer fee required.

Nevertheless, the Wales captain could retire from football altogether should his country fail to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Bale could retire from football altogether if Wales fail to qualify for this year’s World Cup

If Robert Page’s men, who will contest a qualifying final on June 5, are not featuring at the tournament in November, Bale could hang up his boots.

Qualification could see him sign a short-term deal with a club to tie him over until 2023, with former clubs Tottenham, Southampton and Cardiff potential options.

A lucrative switch to MLS is another possible move for Bale, although to ensure he is fully sharp for the World Cup playing in one of Europe’s top five leagues may serve him best.

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