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Gareth Bale says goodbye to Real Madrid

Gareth Bale bids goodbye to Real Madrid on Wednesday and received additional honor, this time from Queen Elizabeth II.

Gareth Bale says goodbye to Real Madrid

The five-time Champions League player, whose nine-year deal with Real Madrid ends this summer, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE, inside the Queen’s Birthday Honors Roll.

The accolade for contributions to football and charities was announced during the 96-year-old monarch’s Platinum Jubilee festivities, when Bale is on international deployment with Wales. The 32-year-old forward will try to guide Wales to its first World Cup since 1958 in a playoff final against Ukraine on Sunday in Cardiff.

He’s reportedly seeking for a different club after declaring his departure from Real Madrid earlier this week. He had little chance of signing a new deal with the Spanish champions, having fallen out of favor with the club that had acquired him for a then-world record sum of 100 million euros (now $107 million) in 2013.

Despite being Britain’s most decorated export, Bale was unable to keep performing to his full ability at Madrid and suffered severe criticism from media and fans.

Bale, on the other hand, ended on a high note.

“I came here nine years ago as a young guy eager to accomplish my ambition of playing for Real Madrid,” he wrote in a letter uploaded on Twitter. “To wear the spotless white uniform, to wear the crest on my breast, to play at the Santiago Bernabéu, to win trophies and to be a part of what this stadium is famed for, to win the Champions League.” I can now look back and honestly say that this dream became a reality, and more, much more.”

Bale scored in two Champions League finals, including a stunning bicycle kick against Liverpool in 2018. However, he did not play in Saturday’s European Cup-clinching triumph over Liverpool in Paris.