Gareth Bale thanks Real Madrid for ‘dream’ nine years in Spain

The Wales captain became the first British player to win the Champions League five times.

By Press Association Published: 1 June 2022 - 10.00am

Gareth Bale has marked the end of his Real Madrid career by thanking the club for making his football dream come true.

Bale’s nine-year spell in Madrid ended on Saturday when he was a non-playing substitute in Real’s Champions League final victory over Liverpool in Paris.

The Wales captain became the first British player to win the Champions League on five occasions, while he also won three LaLiga titles and multiple Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup crowns.

“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,” Bale posted on his personal Twitter account.

“I arrived here 9 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 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.

Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League – Final – NSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium
Gareth Bale celebrates scoring against Liverpool in Real Madrid’s 2018 Champions League final win (Nick Potts/PA)

“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 joined Real from Tottenham in 2013 for a then world record fee of £85million.

The 32-year-old scored more than 100 goals for Real, three of them coming in Champions League finals, with his stunning overhead kick against Liverpool in 2018 proving decisive.

Bale’s relationship with Real fans and the Madrid media had soured in recent seasons, with his commitment to the club questioned in the Spanish capital.

He was accused of being more interested in playing golf and for Wales, rather than for Real, and was often absent because of injury issues.

Bale spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Tottenham and, in another injury-hit campaign, made just seven appearances in his final year at Real.

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