Bale taking up new sport after retirement?

Ex-Wales and Real Madrid player Gareth Bale
Ex-Wales and Real Madrid player Gareth Bale

Ex-Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has announced he will be competing in one of the top tournaments of a new sport just two weeks after retiring from professional football.

On 9 January, soon after he represented Wales at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Bale confirmed that he had decided to call time on his football career at the age of 33. 

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His announcement came before the expiry of his one-year contract with MLS outfit Los Angeles FC, for whom he instantly became a hero after scoring a last-minute equaliser in extra-time before his team beat Philadelphia Union on penalties to win the Major League Soccer Cup in November.

The decorated star has now revealed that he will once again be competing in California, but this time on a golf course rather than a football pitch.

"Delighted to announce I will be playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at the start of next month! Let's go," Bale wrote on Instagram, according to talkSPORT.

The event is a professional annual golf tournament on the PGA Tour and as many as 156 pro golfers will take part in the tournament, including 2022 US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick, as well as former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald, and 156 amateurs.

Bale will be among the celebrities of the competition, which gets underway from 2 to 5 February, and will feature among the likes of actors Bill Murray and Jason Bateman.

This latest announcement comes after the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett, earlier this month refused to rule out the possibility that Bale could become a professional golfer following his retirement from football.

"I don't think so," the representative said when asked if the former Tottenham Hotspur talisman would take up golf on a full-time basis, per WalesOnline.

"But who knows, he could surprise everybody and just do it!"

The former forward's passion for golf is widely known to football supporters, especially those in Madrid. He had a huge fallout with Los Blancos supporters during his spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he was accused of lacking commitment due to his liking for golf, with some fans believing it was an unnecessary distraction.

This was made worse when he celebrated the Dragons' 2020 UEFA European Championship qualification by holding up a flag that read: "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order."

The 111-capped Wales international responded to claims that golf was a distraction in 2020, stating: "Football is my No. 1 sport. I'm paid to do it and I always give my best. Golf is a hobby like anyone else would have a hobby.

"There is nothing wrong with having a round. People make a lot of it, but a lot of footballers play and it's one thing I really enjoy."

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The Welshmen is considered among the greatest British footballers of all time following a trophy-laden career, epitomised by five UEFA Champions League titles, the joint-most by any player.

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