Bale, The Greatest Welsh in Football History
Gareth Frank Bale was born on July 19, 1989 in the city of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, where he completed his studies at Whitchurch Secondary School.
At school Gareth Bale played sports such as hockey and rugby, however he discovered in football his vocation. From a very young age Gareth demonstrated excellent ball control along with speed and a powerful shot from his left leg. Due to these characteristics he was considered the best player from his school. When he was 14, he could run 100m in 11.4 seconds.
Bale was highlighted a lot in school tournaments in Wales, reason why he caught the attention of several clubs in the United Kingdom and started training in the youth categories of Southampton, located in the city of Bath in England. After finishing high school in 2005 aged just 16, he joined the Southampton first team.
Pro Career Beginnings
Bale made his debut for Southampton on April 17, 2006, in the 2-0 victory over Milwall, thus making the left-back the second youngest player to play a professional match for the English club.
At the beginning of the 2006/2007 season Bale began to gain space and was an absolute starter at Southampton’s left flank. The Welshman contributed greatly to his team reaching the English 2nd division playoffs, scoring in five opportunities and assisting his teammates 15 times. Still young, Bale showed a lot of speed and ease to reach the bottom line.
As a result of the solid performance in his first full season as a professional, Bale was named player of the year in the EFL Championship and sparked interest from some Premier League teams. On May 25, 2007 Garth signed a 5-year contract with Tottenham, which paid to Southampton something around 7m Pounds.
Bale started well with the SPURS shirt, even scoring a goal in his 2nd game for the London team, but ended up injuring his right knee and was sidelined until the end of the 2007/2008 season.
From Fast Boy to International Star
After recovering from the knee injury, Bale soon resumed good football and his space on Tottenham’s left flank. As time goes by, Bale was proving to be more and more offensive. He was very fast, with long strides, in addition to a powerful shot from his left leg and great ball handling. For these reasons, the Welshman started playing for the SPURS as a left winger.
With this turn in his career, Bale became more forceful on the field, often being a relief for his team and evolving more and more in the last third of the field, finishing much more for the goal and creating more opportunities for his teammates.
Therefore, Bale became one of Tottenham’s most important players and in the 2010/2011 season he proved his worth by being named the best player of the season by the PFA (Professional Footballer’s Association). His Premier League numbers were not out of this world( 07 goals and 2 assists), but his performance in the Champions League was essential for the Spurs to reach the quarterfinals, mainly due to his historic performance against Inter Milan.
At the end of the season that established him as a European A-level player, Bale was injured again, this time the problem was his ankle.
This injury did not make the speedy athlete low his head. He recovered and returned to football even more prepared, focused and skilled. In the 2012/2013 season, he had his best performances for Tottenham, in total in 44 games played, he scored 26 goals and provided 15 assists. With the Welshman on the pitch, Spurs had a 65.5% success rate in the English league, but without him the success rate downgrades to 46.6%.
Even so, Bale’s great performances were not able to classify Tottenham for the Champions League, however his performences took him with all the merit to be chosen again as the player of the year according to the PFA. In addition to player of the year, he also took home the young player of the year award.
After 6 seasons at Tottenham, Gareth Bale has become a complete and versatile player with many skills, such as dribbling, accurate shooting and unique understanding of the game. Bale was the famous “modern” player.
This success made Bale attract the attention of several European clubs. Tottenham remained firm to keep the star in its squad, but Real Madrid’s proposal of approximately 100m of Euros made Tottenham sell Welsh star to the Merengues.
At Real Madrid it was no different, Bale fit in very well in the team that already had technical leaders like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo. Quickly, he conquered his space and contributed with goals, assists and a lot of dynamism for Real Madrid to win even more titles .
Altogether, for the Merengue Bale team he won 16 titles, justifying the reason why he was the first football player in history to be transferred for more than 100m of Euros. The Welshman won titles such as the Copa del Rey 2013/2014 for Real Madrid; Champions League 2013/2014, 2015/2016, 2016-2017, 2017/2018 and 2021/2022; Club World Cup 2014, 2017 and 2018 in addition to La Liga in the 2016/2017 seasons; 2019/2020 and 2021/2022.
During his time at Real Madrid, Bale suffered a lot from injuries. He had a total of 25 in the period between 2013 and 2018, leaving him out of more than 78 games, even so, the Welshman had historic performances and was directly responsible for winning several titles.
He scored the decisive goal in El Classico valid for the 2013/2014 Copa del Rey final, traveling more than 50m with the ball until he finished the move; the winning goal in extra time of the derby against Atlético de Madrid in winning Real’s tenth Champions League. In addition, he was crucial in Real’s victory against Liverpool in the 2017/2018 Champions League final, a magnificent appearence. He scored a beautiful acrobatic bicycle goal and a bomb from outside the box, counting on the help of Karius.
Even with all the achievements Bale ended up leaving Real Madrid through the back door. Since 2021, when he returned from Tottenham’s loan, the fans and the board were not getting along with the athlete, demanding more commitment to the club, since they claimed that the Welsh only wanted to know about golf and other hobbies. Thus, his end came at the Merengue club.
Career ending and Wales marks
After his return from loan to Tottenham, Bale was not used by Carlo Ancelotti and was soon traded to Los Angeles FC in the United States, where he also failed to play.
For these reasons, Bale made a difficult choice, but he knew it, on 09/01/2023 he announced his retirement from the pitch.
On his Instagram, the Welsh star said: “After careful and careful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.” In addition, in the same post Bale thanked the fans, as well as the teammates he had in his career and the clubs he played for.
Bale ends his career as the Wales player to win the most titles in his career, in addition to being the top scorer for the Wales national team. He scored 39 goals in 111 matches, making him the all time top scorer for the national team.
Bale and his teammates helped Wales reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016, an unprecedented event in Wales’ history.
In addition, Bale was important in the qualification of Wales for the 2022 World Cup, the first disputed by the country since 1958. As if that were not enough, Bale was the only one to score for the national team in the 2022 World Cup.
Awarded with the Order of the British Empire
The ace Gareth Bale did not only do well on the pitch, but also off it. At the peak of the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Welshman donated more than 1m Euros to hospitals in Wales and Spain to help fight the pandemic.
Such action by the Welsh star, led Queen of England, at the time, to award him with the Order of the British Empire, which is an Order that rewards contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and social assistance organizations, and public service abroad.
Hey, will Bale be missed in football? What is your opinion of the welsh star?
Written by João Felipe Miller