MLS side Los Angeles FC have confirmed the signing of Gareth Bale on a 12-month contract.
The forward, a free agent after leaving Real Madrid this summer, had other offers but has chosen to move to California and the MLS.
Bale, who signed for Real from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then-record transfer fee of £84m, has the option of extending his stay into 2024.
“I am extremely excited for this move to LAFC,” Bale said in a statement on LAFC’s website.
“This is the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career, and I can’t wait to get started working with the team and getting ready to win more trophies in Los Angeles.”
Bale enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Real, winning three LaLiga titles, five Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and the Spanish Cup, although his time at the club was marred by injuries.
In Los Angeles, he will join Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini who signed for LAFC this month after his departure from Juventus.
Why Bale move to MLS is good for all involved…
While Bale’s transfer to the US may come as a surprise to some. To those in the Wales set-up, this will not be a shock.
During the last international camp, Bale, Rob Page and anyone else within the set-up were quizzed about a potential transfer to Cardiff City. They did not play down the chance, but they were also just being polite and respectful.
It would have been a huge risk for Bale to take even a short contract to play in the Championship, the risk of being injured either through a mistimed tackle or just the attritional wear and tear of one of the toughest leagues in the world was, in my opinion, never on the cards.
Bale makes MLS move – your views…
Frank: Not too demanding for an injury-prone player, training in hot weather to prepare for Qatar, great move for him and Wales!
Hiney: Personally I think Gareth Bale should have moved back to English football it would have helped him have higher fitness levels for the World Cup.
Steve: As a Welshman it would have been lovely for Gareth to play for Cardiff… however I am so relieved he isn’t going to subject himself to arguably the most physical league in Europe. Right move for now and also pretty sure he’ll be playing in warmer conditions ready for Qatar.
jay: Good move, fact-finding mission too, with the USA being in Wales’ group he will learn what to expect.
Bale bids farewell to Real Madrid fans
Bale signed off from his “dream” nine-year Real Madrid stint with an open letter to the club’s fans.
His relationship with the club’s fans deteriorated over what was often perceived as a work-shy mentality towards the end of his time in Spain, which was not helped when he was pictured alongside a fan’s ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid’ flag in November 2019 after helping his country qualify for Euro 2020.
Despite that, he was given a rapturous applause as he made his final public appearance as a Real player during their Champions League homecoming in May, and responded with an open letter to the club’s fans on social media.
He wrote on Twitter: “I write this message to say thank you to all my team mates, past and present, my managers, the backroom staff and to the fans that supported me.
“I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realise my dream of playing for Real Madrid. To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the Champions League.
“I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more. To be a part of this club’s history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player, has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.
“I also want to thank President Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez, and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club. Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football.
“It has been an honour. Thank you! HALA MADRID!”
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