Gareth Bale awarded MBE after Real Madrid exit
The Wales international, 32, receives the honour — which stands for “Member of the Order of the British Empire” — for “services to football and charity.”
The awards were handed out on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in the UK.
Rio Ferdinand, James Milner, Mike Summerbee and Luther Blissett have also been recognised.
Bale became the first British player to win five Champions Leagues in Madrid’s win over Liverpool last weekend.
In 2020 it emerged that he had donated over €1 million to hospitals in Wales and Spain to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bale is on international duty with Wales for their series of matches this month, including Sunday’s World Cup qualifying playoff with Ukraine.
Sources have told ESPN that no decisions will be taken on his next move until after his involvement with Wales this month has concluded.
The forward announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving Madrid — as had been widely anticipated — after nine years at the club when his contract expires this summer.
He thanked teammates, coaches, fans and the club’s board for helping him to “create moments that will live forever” in an open letter published on social media.
Bale won five Champions Leagues — scoring in the 2014 and 2018 finals — three LaLiga titles and a Copa del Rey during his time in Madrid.
However his role in the team has diminished over time due to a worsening injury record, and his relationship with Madrid’s fans was hit by a perception that he prioritised his national team over his club.
He spent the 2020-21 season back on loan at former club Tottenham Hotspur, featured in just five LaLiga games this season, and was an unused substitute in Madrid’s final win over Liverpool last Saturday.
In Wales he is recognised as arguably his country’s greatest ever player, having led them to the semifinals of Euro 2016 in their first tournament appearance since 1958.
In April 2020, not long after the coronavirus pandemic began, he gave £500,000 to a charity connected to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he was born, and gifted a similar sum to healthcare services in Madrid.