‘Best British player ever – fact!’: Fans pay tribute to Gareth Bale on social media as the Welsh icon announces SHOCK retirement six weeks after leading his country to the World Cup having vowed to continue
Gareth Bale announced his retirement on Monday, with tributes flooding in to congratulate the Welsh icon on his career.
The ex-Tottenham and Real Madrid forward had only signed for MLS side LAFC seven months weeks prior to hanging up his boots, and had just returned from leading Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
The former Wales skipper hinted at a possible coaching job in the future in his announcement, as he looks to move on from a playing career at just 33 years old.
Welsh icon Gareth Bale announced his retirement from professional football on Monday
Bale announced his immediate retirement in a statement that he shared on Twitter on Monday
Former club Tottenham honoured their former player with a post on Twitter, writing: ‘
Thank you for everything, @GarethBale11. Congratulations on an incredible career.’
Supports on Twitter were quick to hail the Welsh legend’s achievements in the game, with many labelling him the best British player of all time.
One fan wrote: ‘Best British Player Ever. Fact.’
Another echoed the sentiment, claiming: ‘Been a part time footballer for a while but at his best Gareth Bale was simply unplayable.
Fans have rushed to call Bale one of the best British players of all time
‘Pace, power, ruthless finishing, aerial ability, he had everything. 5 Champions League titles won’t be beaten by another Brit.
‘Definitely in the conversation for best British player ever…’
A third said: ‘Two things immediately sprung to mind upon hearing of Gareth Bale’s retirement.
‘1. He has a strong case to be considered British football’s greatest ever export.
‘2. Being present for the seminal ‘Taxi for Maicon’ game in 2010 (also one of the best atmospheres I can remember).’
LaLigaTV’s Andy West agreed, adding: ‘Few elite players had such dramatic career peaks and troughs as Gareth Bale. At his best he was unstoppable, totally dynamite.
‘Maybe the greatest British player I’ve ever seen. But in the last few years, the phrase ‘shadow of his former self’ doesn’t even come close.’
Bale scored 72 goals and provided 60 assists for Tottenham across two spells in north London
And Welsh fans in particular paid tribute to Bale, who is arguably the greatest exponent for Welsh sport in their history.
The 33-year-old was his country’s all-time top scorer with 41 goals, and made more appearances than any other male Welsh player, racking up 111 caps for Rob Page’s men.
And as a winner of five Champions League medals, Bale is arguably the most successful Welsh player at club level, too.
One Twitter user said of Bale: ‘A Welsh legend, a football legend and one of the greats to play the game. An icon in his home country as well as on a world scale. Bale is truly one of the players who was underrated due to the players around him.’
A second wrote: ‘A hero, an icon and an inspiration to all of wales. Thank you Bale,’ followed by a red love heart and a Welsh flag.
A third paid tribute to the now-retired great with: ‘The legend of Wales, Gareth Bale. announced his retirement and the end of his football career. Happy retirement, legend.’
And a fourth simply offered up: ‘Captain, Leader, Legend Viva Gareth Bale.’