Gareth Bale’s Rollercoaster Career Comes to an End


Tony Yoo, Staff Writer

If you are a soccer fan, you have probably watched a Welsh named Gareth Bale sprint 22.9 mph on the right side of the pitch for Real Madrid. Bale, marked by his explosiveness and his remarkable use of his left foot, has blessed millions of soccer fans’ eyes for the last 17 years. From Southampton to Los Angeles, left back to right wing, Bale has accomplished it all. However, his career wasn’t always victorious. Frequent injuries plagued Bale throughout his career, and he was often harshly criticized by the media and fans, frequently being called an “injury-prone player.” Even so, Bale surmounted these adversities and successfully brought an end to his illustrious career on January 9th, 2023, going down in history as one of the greatest soccer players of this generation, and the greatest Welsh soccer player ever. 

The Welsh kick-started his professional career at the young age of 16 in Southampton, a well-known football club in Southern England. Bale quickly got a reputation for his astonishing speed and deadly free-kicks with his left foot. After scoring five goals in 45 appearances as a left back, he proved himself as a promising youngster in the Premier League. Many clubs around the world started recognizing the Welsh as he shone brightly in his first professional season. 

Feeling the need for a bigger stage in his career, Bale moved to a prestigious English club, Tottenham Hotspur, in 2007. Unfortunately, the youngster did not fit in. His first season was a nightmare; he struggled so severely that he was only able to play in eight total matches. A torn ankle ligament didn’t help him either, forcing him to cheer his teammates on from the sidelines for most of the matches. 

When it felt like the whole world was turning against him, Bale shocked the whole world as he began to grow rapidly. With the help of his club manager Harry Redknapp, Bale transformed into a much more efficient player who contributed offensively as a defender. Eventually, this led to one of the most revolutionary position changes in soccer history when Bale converted from a left back to a world class winger. By 2010, Bale became an essential part of Tottenham, and even received the Premier League Player of the Month Award in the same year. To top things off, Bale was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and was gradually becoming the face of the Premier League. 

As his contract was running out, fans couldn’t help but wonder whether or not Bale would depart from Tottenham Hotspur. Then, after the conclusion of the 2012-13 season and six successful years with the club, Bale transferred to one of the world’s best, Real Madrid CF, with a record-breaking transfer fee of about 100 million euros. This proved his superstar status and thus commenced the golden years of his career. From 2013 to 2022, Bale made 176 appearances for the club and scored 81 goals. Some of his accolades include winning Copa Del Rey in 2013-14, winning the UEFA Super Cup three times, as well as winning the Spanish league “LaLiga” three times. But the most significant among his achievements were his ecstatic performances in the UEFA Champions League, which enabled him to secure the tournament trophy five times. Bale even won more trophies at Real Madrid than Cristiano Ronaldo, an all-time great.

Nevertheless, his severe injuries always held Bale back from reaching his full potential as he was injured on numerous occasions during the peak of his career. This resulted in a relatively quick decline of his values. Since the age of 30, Bale rarely saw the field in Real Madrid and was loaned out to his previous club Tottenham in 2022. Even after his return to Madrid, he couldn’t receive a spot on the roster which resulted in his final transfer to Los Angeles FC in the summer of 2022, where he ended his career a year later.

Contrasting his last years of football, Bale had an inspirational and thriving career for his nation Wales as he constantly paved the way for its international success. As a captain and the top leading goal-scorer of Wales, Bale achieved the honor of qualifying for the UEFA EURO two times, in 2016 and 2020, as well as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Bale is not only a legend to the soccer world but also a legend to his country. His legacies will continue to motivate countless individuals who aspire to be like him. The career of Gareth Bale teaches us a lot of lessons, but his accomplishments, especially after numerous failures, advise all of us to never give up in what we do.