Welsh legend Gareth Bale won’t be coming out of retirement to play for Wrexham next season, despite the pleas of the club’s Hollywood actor co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
After Wrexham earned promotion to the English Football League (EFL) last weekend, McElhenney responded to a congratulatory message from Bale with an ambitious bid to lure the 33-year-old back to the pitch.
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“Let’s play golf, where I totally won’t spend 4 hours trying to convince you to un-retire for one last magical season,” McElhenney wrote on Twitter to the famously golf-loving Bale.
Reynolds then upped the ante by adding: “I will shave a professional-grade golf course into Rob’s back if you’ll give Wrexham a season.”
Bale, though, made clear Thursday that he won’t be tempted into interrupting his retirement.
“No I don’t think so. I think I was looking more for a free round of golf off Rob,” Bale said at the FEVO Sport Industry Awards 2023.
“I’m sure we’ll have a chat and a joke but I’m quite happy where I am — spending a lot of time with my kids, my wife, time that I’ve lost so much of over the years being committed to football. I’m just enjoying family life and playing some golf.”
McElhenney and Reynolds watched on alongside “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd last weekend as Welsh club Wrexham beat Boreham Wood to secure top spot in the National League and promotion to EFL League Two, England’s fourth tier, for next season.
The feat was achieved with the help of 40-year-old goalkeeper Ben Foster, who came out of retirement to help solve an injury crisis at the climax of the season.
Bale’s former Wales teammate Hal Robson-Kanu, 33, has also since offered to come out of retirement to play for Wrexham next season as the club targets further moves up England’s football pyramid.
But Bale will not be following suit. Arguably his country’s greatest-ever player, Bale retired in January after a career that saw him win five Champions League titles with Real Madrid and score 41 goals in 111 appearances for Wales, while leading them to the semifinals of Euro 2016 and to their first World Cup in 64 years in 2022.
Bale, who also played for Southampton and Tottenham and ended his career as an MLS Cup-winning star for LAFC, made his final outing as Wales exited the World Cup in Qatar at the group stage.