Real Madrid star Gareth Bale joined the tributes to Wales great Sam Warburton, who called time on his career on Wednesday.
Warburton had been expected to return from knee and neck surgery but was unable to fully recover, instead opting to retire from rugby after a glittering career with Cardiff Blues, Wales and the British and Irish Lions.
And Madrid winger Bale, who went to the same Cardiff school as Warburton, sent a supportive message on Twitter.
“Congratulations on an incredible career, mate,” Bale wrote. “Good luck for everything in the future. #welshlegend”
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) July 18, 2018
Scott Williams, Warburton’s Wales team-mate, also posted a tribute to the 29-year-old.
“Devastated with the news,” he said. “Absolute legend of the game and unbelievable career. Proud to have played under you! Half decent bloke, too.”
Veteran star James Hook added: “Congratulations Warby! A barnstorming career to be proud of, pal. Pleasure to take the field with you.”
— James William Hook (@hookjameshook) July 18, 2018
Stuart Barnes chipped in: “Congratulations and commiserations to Sam Warburton on his illustrious career but sadly premature retirement. Wales are not left short of either leaders or sevens.
Congratulations and commiserations to Sam Warburton on his illustrious career but sadly premature retirement. Wales are not left short of either leaders or sevens. #samwarburton
— Stuart Barnes (@SBarnesRugby) July 18, 2018
Warburton was highly respected outside of Wales, too, and a number of opponents – including Ireland and South Africa – chimed in via the teams’ official accounts.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 18, 2018
Congrats on a stellar career @samwarburton_ – we've had some memorable Test battles against you in recent years. You can be proud of your achievements, best wishes on your retirement. A sad day as @cardiff_blues @WelshRugbyUnion and @lionsofficial greet a giant of the game. pic.twitter.com/mFV3104JwP
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) July 18, 2018
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