Wales boss wants Bale to stay involved in international set-up

Wales manager Rob Page will try to convince Gareth Bale to stay involved in the international set-up after the star forward announced he is retiring from football.

Bale, a five-time Champions League winner at Real Madrid, ended a glittering career on Monday after winning 111 caps and scoring 41 goals for his country -- both national records for the men's team.

The 33-year-old's decision to quit came after Wales' disappointing performance at their first World Cup since 1958 in Qatar, where Page's team failed to get out of their group and Bale struggled due to a lack of match fitness.

"When you have someone of Gareth Bale's stature, what he's done for Wales and the impact he can have, even in the changing room just being around the players, then that's something I've got to take advantage of," Page said on Tuesday.

"He's interested in doing it -- in what capacity, we'll have a chat about a few weeks down the line. That's something I'm passionate about and I'd like to keep him involved."

Bale's retirement marks the end of an era -- he played a major role in carrying Wales to three of the past four major tournaments.

At his peak at Euro 2016, Bale inspired an incredible run to the semi-finals in the country's' first major tournament for 58 years.

- 'Phenomenal' Bale -

"It's phenomenal what he's done," said Page. "Not just form a footballing point of view, but as a nation as well he's put Wales on the map globally.

"Because of what he has done in European football at Real Madrid, what he's done in the Premier League with Tottenham when he first started off and then in the World Cup.

"From a cultural point of view and Wales in general, everyone should be very proud of what he's done for us."

Other veterans of Wales' golden spell such as Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen are also nearing the end of their careers but Page is confident Wales have enough talent coming through to ensure they do not return to the international wilderness.

"It's not about a complete change, it's about drip feeding in these young players from top clubs and giving them that challenge," he said. "That was part of Gareth's decision too that he didn't want to hold up anyone else's progress."

Bale's lack of game time at club level over the past few years made his consistent performances for his country all the more remarkable but Page hinted that his future would have been as an impact substitute and agreed now was the right time to retire.

"I told him I think it's the right time to bow out. You've just scored in a World Cup and got everything on your CV. What you've done for this country is unbelievable."

Wales start their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign in March with a double header away to Croatia and home to Latvia.

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