Gareth Bale: Los Angeles FC confirm signing of Wales captain after Real Madrid departure

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Gareth Bale was an unused substitute in Real Madrid’s Champions League final win over Liverpool last month

Gareth Bale joined Los Angeles FC on a 12-month deal after leaving Real Madrid, saying: “I can’t wait to get started.”

The Wales captain, 32, signed as a free agent after nine years in Spain with an option to stay there for the 2024 season.

“I’m extremely excited for this move to LAFC,” Bale said.

“It’s the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career.”

LAFC co-chairman John Thorrington said: “Gareth is one of the most dynamic and exciting players of his generation.

“Adding a player who brings his talent and experience to the highest level is an incredible opportunity to improve our club.

“I am grateful to the Gareth management team who helped make this happen.

“It’s clear that Gareth is highly motivated to continue winning trophies and we are delighted that he has made the choice to join LAFC and help us achieve our ultimate goal of winning championships.”

LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said: “There just aren’t many players in the world who can impact a game like Gareth Bale.

“He can be dangerous in so many different ways, and we expect him to complement what we think is already a strong team upon his arrival.

“His knowledge of the game and his experience in big games will be invaluable.”

Thorrington said earlier that the negotiations with Bale were not ‘a financial conversation’.

He added: “Our transfer window opens in early July when we can sign up. [players]. We still have to go through the paperwork, hopefully a week or the next 10 days to deal with it, to welcome him and his family to LA, to catch up.”

On Sunday, Thorrington expressed his desire for Bale’s stay to continue beyond November’s World Cup in Qatar, where Wales will make their first final appearance since 1958.

“It was never around six months just for the World Cup. We always talked about longer term than that. It was very clear from Gareth and his representative,” he said.

“When Gareth considers what he needs to do, his priority will be at LAFC – we are absolutely sure of that – but we are not naive to the fact that he, like some of our other players, has a World Cup on the horizon. .”

Thorrington, who is also the general manager of Los Angeles FC, said Bale’s first game for the MLS team could potentially be the home derby against LA Galaxy at 03:00 BST on July 9.

The five-time Champions League winner had been linked with a return to Tottenham Hotspur as well as a move to his hometown club Cardiff.

The signing of Bale, who joined Real Madrid for a record fee of £85million in 2013, follows LAFC. move for Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini earlier this month.

“We presented them with what we think is a unique opportunity for them at some point in their career to do something different,” Thorrington said.

“But we want to win and we want winners, and we have a guy who has won five Champions Leagues and a guy who has won the World Cup. [Chiellini].

“We have two great players who will go on to do great things in the next phase of their careers here.

“We see them having a big influence on the guys we already have here.”

There was speculation that Bale would end his playing career if Wales missed out on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

But after Robert Page’s side booked their place in Qatar by beating Ukraine in the World Cup play-off final earlier this month, the only question over Bale’s future was which club he would join.

There had been suggestions that Bale would opt to join Cardiff, with his agents confirming last week that they had held talks with the Welsh cluband Championship side owner Vincent Tan believes he could still play for his hometown club one day.

“We were very excited and of course he would have been a big hit for us and it would be great for Gareth Bale if he could play for his hometown,” Malaysian businessman Tan told Talksport before the Bale’s transfer is confirmed.

“And of course all Welsh people would be very happy if Gareth Bale came home and played in Cardiff.

“Unfortunately, I think the LAFC offer was probably too attractive for him to turn down.

“But actually, originally he really wanted to come. Money wasn’t the issue, but we still tried to find what we thought was a good offer for him.

“But in the end it’s very difficult to be competitive when there are a lot of big American advertisers, the commercial agreements there are very good for Gareth Bale.

“So we tried our best but we failed.”

When asked if he would try again to sign Bale in the future, Tan said: “His contract is for 12 months, let’s see what happens. Maybe by then Gareth will probably want to come back.”

Cardiff shares a training ground with the Football Association of Wales, which would have allowed Bale to continue to work closely with Wales’ medical and fitness staff while on duty at the club. he had chosen to join the Bluebirds.

However, he is instead heading to MLS, where the season runs from February to October and the competition’s secondary transfer window opens on July 7.

Gareth Bale needs regular games next season, says Wales boss Robert Page

“We were incredibly diligent and it was an open and transparent conversation and we quickly saw that it was a good game against fierce competition around the world – and it [Bale] accepted and we are delighted to welcome him in the coming weeks,” said Thorrington.

“It wasn’t a financial conversation with Gareth or us. If Gareth made this decision with financial motives, he wouldn’t be in MLS.

“This league is really exciting globally and he saw an opportunity to make a real impact. He sees here an opportunity to make a difference with the stage we provide.

“He sees the chance to pull this sport into competition with other sports.

“As much as possible… understanding how to handle a player like Gareth, a Ferrari or a thoroughbred racehorse, they need extra attention to be successful, we’re confident we can do that.

“The benefit of him coming to the group we have is that we will have a player who can play as much as he can, but we will do it in a sensible way.

“His priority will be at LAFC, but we are not naive – he has a World Cup on the horizon and how we handle his preparation before the World Cup will be important for Gareth and the success of LA, but we want May he reach his peak after the game with the United States!

“The exact preparation he needs will be the same for us as for the World Cup, which I know is historic for Wales.”

Wales travel to Qatar in November where they will face the United States, Iran and England in Group B of the World Cup.

LAFC currently leads the MLS Western Conference and has 18 regular season games to play.

When asked what Bale and Chiellini would bring to his team, Cherundolo said: “Having had phone calls and zooms with Gareth Bale and Chiellini, I know 100% that they are here for the right reasons.

“I hope he [Bale] will bring what he brought to Tottenham, to Real Madrid – goals, assists, constant threat – a prolific player who knows how to win championships.”

The season-ending play-offs will follow, with the MLS Cup final to be played on November 5 – 16 days before Wales’ World Cup campaign kicks off with a game against the United States.

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