Gareth Bale expressed his final farewell to Real Madrid, garnering yet another special recognition from nobody else but Queen Elizabeth II. The five-time Champions League victor was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List. His deal with Real Madrid officially ends this month after nine years.
Bale earned the award for contributions to sport and charity whilst on international duties with Wales, which corresponds with the 96-year-old monarch’s Platinum Jubilee festivities. On Sunday, the 32-year-old attacker will meet Ukraine in a playoff finale in Cardiff in the hopes of leading Wales to its maiden World Cup after 1958.
He’s also searching for a new team after confirming his departure from Real Madrid previously this week. He had no chance of re-signing with the Spanish winners, having dropped out of favour with the club that had bought him for a then-world-record price of 100 million euros (now $107 million) in 2013.
Bale, despite being Britain’s most celebrated export, was unable to constantly deliver to his full ability at Madrid, and suffered brutal criticism from supporters and the press. Bale, on the other hand, ended his parting speech on a hopeful note.
“To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabéu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the Champions League. I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more.” Bale wrote in his Instagram post.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 1, 2022
Bale has netted in two Champions League finals, particularly a breathtaking bicycle kick versus Liverpool in 2018. Unfortunately, he was sidelined from Saturday’s triumph versus Liverpool in Paris, which gave him his fifth European Cup. He was a role of 19 trophies won by Real Madrid, namely three Spanish crowns and four Club World Cups. He played last year on loan at Tottenham, but the transfer did not help him rekindle his game in Spain.
Receiving an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list is a very proud moment for my family and I. To be given this news as we prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee makes it feel even more special.
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 2, 2022