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Bale leads social media tributes

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Gareth Bale leads social media tributes to schoolmate Warburton

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”

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.”

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.

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.

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Gareth Bale leads social media tributes to schoolmate Warburton