WALES captain Gareth Bale has announced he is to retire from international and club football at the age of 33.
The former Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid player, who made 111 appearances for the Cymru national team, announced on social media this afternoon that he is to retire.
In a message to Cymru fans on the FAW website, Gareth Bale said: “My decision to retire from international football has been, by far the hardest of my career.
“How do I describe what being a part of this country and team means to me?
“How do I articulate the impact it has had on my life?
“How do I put in to words the way I felt, every single time I put on that Welsh shirt?
“My answer is that I couldn't possibly do any of those things justice, simply with words.
“But I know that every person involved in Welsh football, feels the magic, and is impacted in such a powerful and unique way, so I know you feel what I feel, without using any words at all.
“My journey on the international stage is one that has changed not only my life but who I am.
“The fortune of being Welsh and being selected to play for and captain Wales, has given me something incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced.
“I am honoured and humbled to have been able to play a part in the history of this incredible country, to have felt the support and passion of the red wall, and together have been to unexpected and amazing places.
“I shared a dressing room with boys that became brothers, and back room staff that became family, I played for the most incredible managers, and felt the undying support and love from the most dedicated fans in the world.
“Thank you to every one of you for being on this journey with me.
“So for now I am stepping back, but not away from the team that lives in me and runs through my veins. After all, the dragon on my shirt is all I need.”