Gareth Bale agreed to join MLS franchise Los Angeles FC when his Real Madrid contract expired at the end of June. The Wales captain took to social media then to post a video of himself wearing the team’s home shirt, with the message: “See you soon, Los Angeles.”
He has also changed his Twitter and Instagram biographies to read: “Footballer. @LAFC and @FAWales.”
See you soon, Los Angeles. 👊 @LAFC @LAFC3252 pic.twitter.com/GVP8WVWLPe
It had been suggested that Bale, who won five Champions League titles during a nine-year career at Madrid, might have retired from playing had Wales failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, which is to be held in November and December. However, after helping his national team to reach Qatar via a qualification playoff against Ukraine this month, the 32-year-old forward will have a spell in the MLS as he prepares to lead the Welsh into what will be their first appearance at a World Cup since 1958.
Bale has signed a 12-month contract with LAFC, who play in the league’s Western Conference. The 2022 MLS regular season began in February and runs until 9 October, before the playoffs conclude with the MLS Cup final on 5 November. The World Cup kicks off just over two weeks later, on 21 November, with Wales scheduled to face the US on the tournament’s opening day.
Bale will be able to complete his move to LAFC when the MLS’ ‘secondary transfer window’ opens on 7 July. The same goes for former Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, whose signing from Juventus on a one-year deal was confirmed by the franchise earlier in June. This means that the first game Bale and Chiellini could have been eligible for was LAFC’s home clash with city rivals Los Angeles Galaxy on Friday 8 July.
The LA derby, known as ‘El Tráfico’, kicks off at Banc of California Stadium at 7pm PT/10pm ET. But it’s not going to be possible.
Unfortunately the Welshman has not received his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate yet and that has prevented him from training with the rest of the team. LAFC’s next fixture after that is a trip to face Nashville SC on Sunday 17 July, at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET.
Bale, who began his career at Southampton, enjoyed a successful six years at Tottenham Hotspur between 2007 and 2013, before joining Real Madrid for a then-world-record fee of just over 100 million euros. During his time with the Spanish giants, he scored 106 goals in 258 appearances, and not only won five European crowns, but also three LaLiga titles, a Copa del Rey, three UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups.
Bale spent the 2020/21 season on loan back at Tottenham. He has won 106 caps for Wales since making his international debut in 2006, scoring 39 times for the Dragons.
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