Luton defender pays tribute to Wales team-mate Bale after former Spurs and Real Madrid winger announces retirement

Welshman calls it a day after playing in World Cup Finals
Town defender Tom Lockyer lines up for a corner with Gareth Bale during a Wales internationalTown defender Tom Lockyer lines up for a corner with Gareth Bale during a Wales international
Town defender Tom Lockyer lines up for a corner with Gareth Bale during a Wales international

Luton defender Tom Lockyer has paid tribute to Wales captain Gareth Bale after he retired from football at the age of 33 yesterday, labelling it a ‘privilege’ to play with his fellow countryman.

The nation's most-capped male player and record men's goalscorer, a five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, announced his decision on social media following Wales’ first ever appearance at the World Cup Finals in over 60 years recently.

He wrote: "After careful and thoughtful consideration, I announce my immediate retirement from club and international football.

"I feel incredibly fortunate to have realised my dream of playing the sport I love.

"It (football) has truly given me some of the best moments of my life.

"The highest of highs over 17 seasons, that will be impossible to replicate, no matter what the next chapter has in store for me."

Like Lockyer, Bale was born in Cardiff, playing for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid and Los Angeles FC during a 16-year career, also scoring 41 goals in 111 appearances for Wales.

Since making his debut in a 1-1 draw against Panama in November 2017, Lockyer has gone on to play 14 times for his country, nine of them alongside Bale.

The duo were also at the recent European Championships and World Cup Finals, as the Town defender wrote on Instagram: “An absolute privilege to be able to share the pitch with such a legend.

"Thank you for everything you’ve done for our country over the years.

"A true inspiration and role model on and off the pitch.

"Enjoy retirement mate.”