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Gareth Bale’s retirement comes “at the right time”

The news of LAFC forward Gareth Bale’s retirement from professional soccer didn’t come as a surprise to Wales manager Robert Page.

The news of LAFC forward Gareth Bale’s retirement from professional soccer didn’t come as a surprise to Wales manager Robert Page.
Simon Stacpoole/OffsideDiarioAS

Wales manager Robert Page has revealed that he advised his star man Gareth Bale that “it was the right time” to retire in a conversation between the pair which took place before the former Real Madrid attacker’s announcement, which took some – if not all – of us by surprise on Monday.

Bale took to social media to reveal that his playing days had come to an end at the age of 33. “After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football. I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love. It has truly given me some of the best moments of my life”, read the statement. “I feel indebted to many people for helping to change my life and shape my career in a way I couldn’t have ever dreamed of when I first started out at 9 years old.

After starting out as a left-back at Southampton and then Tottenham Hotspur, Bale’s career really took off in the 2010-11 season when he was moved into a more attacking role having returned from an injury layoff. A series of eye-catching performances and goals galore led to a big-money move to Real Madrid, where he won three league titles and five Champions League, scoring in two finals.

But despite his exploits in Spain, fans of Los Blancos were often critical of his commitment to the cause, in stark contrast to the Welsh support, who idolised Bale as he led them further than they ever would have imagined at Euro 2016 and Euro 2020.

Wales manager Robert Page: Gareth Bale has everything on his CV

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Page revealed that Bale’s message to inform him of a decision didn’t catch him off guard:

“Gareth messaged to say he needed a conversation. I knew it was something significant, but when he announced it to me it didn’t come as a complete surprise. I told him I think it’s the right time to bow out. You’ve just scored in a World Cup and got everything on your CV, what you’ve done for this country is unbelievable.”

Bale’s retirement post ends in relatively cryptic fashion: “I move on with anticipation for the next stage of my life. A time of change and transition, an opportunity for a new adventure…

What will Gareth Bale do next?

Whether that ‘new adventure’ involves professional golf (the obvious guess), the NBA or some form of coaching remains to be seen, but Page hopes that it will be the latter:

I would love him still to be involved in some capacity, what that role is I don’t know yet,” he said. “It’s a big adjustment for him, going into a normalish life, but we’ll have another conversation with him in a few weeks.

“We’ll make a plan moving forward because he’s got so much to offer in a changing room and hotel environment.”


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