Gareth Bale celebrating during the 2022 MLS Cup final. (USA TODAY Photo)

Gareth Bale’s World Cup appearance for Wales and his heroics for Los Angeles FC in the MLS Cup final last year turned out to be the star’s swan song.

Bale announced his retirement from professional football Monday after an 18-year career.

“We want to thank Gareth for everything he brought to our club,” LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington said in a statement. “He arrived here with a goal to win championships in L.A., and, like he has done everywhere else in his career – he succeeded. It was an honor to have one of the most talented, dynamic and exciting players of his generation finish his career with a title for LAFC, and we wish Gareth, his wife Emma, and their family nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”

Bale, 33, joined LAFC on June 27, 2022, after a nine-year career with La Liga’s Real Madrid. A five-time UEFA Champions League winner, Bale won an unprecedented 21 trophies since 2013.

He made 13 appearances and scored three goals with LAFC. His best-known goal was eight minutes into stoppage time of the second extratime period of the MLS Cup final against the Philadelphia Union, which sent the match into a shootout that was won by the hosts.

Bale made 111 appearances for Wales since 2006, scoring 40 goals and registering 22 assists. Bale was instrumental in leading Wales to the 2022 World Cup, securing their first appearance in the tournament in 64 years. He also helped the Welsh reach the Round of 16 of the UEFA 2020 European Championship.

The Cardiff, Wales native captained Wales at the World Cup in Qatar and scored the equalizing goal in a 1-1 draw against the United States in the group stage on Nov. 21. In his final international match, Bale played 45 minutes in the final group stage match against England on Nov. 29.

He made his professional debut in 2006 at 16 with English Championship club Southampton before moving to Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League in 2007. During his time with Tottenham, he was named the PFA Men’s Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and selected to the 2011 UEFA Team of the Year. He joined Cristiano Ronaldo as just the second player in history to win the PFA Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year when he did it in 2012. From 2007-2013 he scored 42 goals in 146 appearances for the Spurs. Bale also scored 11 goals and tallied two assists with Tottenham during the 2020-2021 EPL season while on loan from Real Madrid.

Bale joined Real Madrid in 2013 and finished his time there as a club legend, making 258 appearances and registering 106 goals and 67 assists across all competitions – including 176 games in La Liga. He was a major part of an incredible era at Real Madrid winning 19 trophies, including: five UEFA European Championships, four Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, three LaLiga titles, one Copa del Rey and three Spanish Super Cups. Bale scored goals in the 2014 and 2018 Champions League final and was named the Best Player of the 2018 Champions League and won the Golden Ball at the 2018 Club World Cup.

Bale was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth of England on June 2, 2022 as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award stands for “Member of the Order of the British Empire” and Bale received it for services to football and charity. Bale has donated significantly to hospitals in Wales and Spain to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.