The words – great, phenomenon and legend are bandied around but Gareth Bale can tick the qualifications needed to satisfy each one of these categories. The man is simply a unique force that has surpassed the achievements of many huge clubs let alone those players who are put on pedestals without a globule of the glory that Gareth has garnered.
As a global icon his name carries immense weight and that score as a solo entity is admirable – but, as a means to propelling the country of Wales on to international recognition he is an incomparable colossus.
Everywhere he has gone there has been an indelible mark of magic stamped and whatever fallout there was at Real Madrid this situation cannot erase a roll of honour that is stellar. From the origins of left back Bale moved up the pitch, went through the gears and became a game changer and goal machine. There was quality in the quantity and his influence on Welsh football and the modern game is immeasurable.
He eventually reached a World Cup with his beloved nation and yes he hit the back of the net. The events in Qatar may not have gone to schedule but if it were not for Gareth Bale there would not have been a Wales representation at the 2022 showpiece or the Euros of 2016 and 2021.
It is therefore a sad day that marks the end of a glittering career and is the ultimate confirmation of the statement that all good things must come to an end.
Hero, Saint and an appropriate king for Wales – Gareth Bale! Enjoy your retirement, you deserve a rest but please stay involved in assisting the future of the game in Wales. Your country will always need you!