Gareth Bale has agreed to take his talents to the United States this summer, after agreeing a switch to LAFC, the club co-owned by Will Ferrell, where he will count ex-Arsenal star Carlos Vela and Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini among his teammates
Gareth Bale agreed to join MLS team Los Angeles FC in a bid to get fit for the World Cup.
The Wales star helped steer his nation to their first finals in 64 years with an emotional play-off victory over Ukraine. But he has made just FOUR starts for current club Real Madrid in the past year. In fact, the £600,000 a week star has managed just 97 minutes for the Spanish giants since last August, and only 23 minutes from the turn of this year – despite his inspirational appearances for his nation.
Those included two spectacular goals in a play off semi final against Austria, then that free kick against Ukraine which took the Welsh to only their second World Cup finals, and the first since 1958.
Bale knows he must play more football before the tournament begins in November, and Los Angeles FC presents the perfect opportunity, not only for a welcoming climate, but also competitive matches.
The 32 year-old will join the US club when he Madrid contract expires at the end of this month, and the MLS transfer window opens on July 7. That could see him make his debut in a tasty derby clash with Steven Gerrard’s former club LA Galaxy on July 9.
The MLS regular season will run until October 9, meaning three months of competitive football for the Wales talisman, but LAFC are well placed to make the end of season play offs, which extends the campaign until November 5.
With Wales’ first game on November 21, that could give him the perfect lead up to the finals, with a short break before the action begins. It is a calculated move from the Welsh legend, who has targeted a big World Cup as perhaps his grand finale to an international career which has seen him break into the argument as his nation’s greatest player.
That debate rages with John Charles often considered the all time best, but Bale is most certainly Wales’ biggest player of the past 60 years, with a storied history since joining Real for a then world record fee of £85m back in 2013.
In his nine years with the club, he has won five Champions League winners’ medals, three La Liga titles and more than 100 goals, including a spectacular finish in the 2018 final win over Liverpool, and the decisive extra time goal in the final defeat of Atletico Madrid in 2014.
He also scored in the penalty shootout win, again against city rivals Atletico, in 2016. But it is success with Wales which now drives him, and he is targeting run deep into the knock-out stages in Qatar.
Perhaps astutely, he has signed a one year deal with the California club, with an option to extend for a further 18 months, and has signed on a Targeted Allocation Money deal, which allows salary payments beyond the league cap.
Bale had been linked with a return to Spurs after a loan deal there last season, and had spoken with home town club Cardiff about an unlikely return, along with an even more unlikely move to small Madrid club Getafe. But the Wales captain has now settled on LA, and could kick off in spectacular fashion in the city derby with the Galaxy – which in keeping with his Spanish background and big clashes with Barca, is dubbed…El Tráfico.