Gareth Bale has confirmed his next destination after leaving Real Madrid, joining Los Angeles FC on a one-year deal.
The 32-year-old Welshman has made no secret of his desire to find a new club after Wales reached their first World Cup in 64 years.
The likes of Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur and even Madrid-based Getafe were all thought to be in the running for Bale’s signature, but the five-time Champions League winner will be taking his exploits across the pond.
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LAFC teased at the possibility of a new signing in the early hours of Saturday morning after posting video with a club-branded cap being boxed up, alongside a caption that read: “Any guesses?”. Bale later confirmed his move to California with a social media post of his own wearing an LAFC kit.
“See you soon, Los Angeles,” Bale captioned, before changing his Twitter profile picture to himself in LAFC colours. His move to LA comes just a few weeks after the club confirmed the signing of Italian veteran and Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini.
— LAFC (@LAFC) June 25, 2022
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 25, 2022
Bale’s desire for a new challenge comes after his diverted free-kick against Ukraine in last month’s World Cup play-off confirmed Wales’ place in this year’s winter World Cup, which places the nation in a group alongside England, the United States and Iran.
Fans from his hometown, Cardiff, will be disappointed by the move after the Bluebirds appeared front-runners to capture his signature, particularly Football Association of Wales chief Noel Mooney, who recently expressed his desire for Bale to remain closer to home ahead of the nation’s World Cup preparations.
“We are here at the Cardiff City Stadium, and the FAW is out at the Vale of Glamorgan, which is not so far,” Mooney told Sky Sports.
“So from a logistical perspective, and the FAW being selfish about it, if he did come back to this area – or anywhere nearby to be fair – we’d be delighted because we’d see more of him. The more we see of Gareth the better. It doesn’t have to be Cardiff City by the way, but if he does come back to this part of the world we’d be very happy.”
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Bale will not be the only star from Europe heading to the MLS this summer, with Chiellini joining him at the Banc of California Stadium, while the latter’s compatriot, Lorenzo Insigne, confirmed he will be joining Toronto FC back in January, ending a 16-year association with Napoli.
Cucho Hernandez is also heading across the Atlantic following Watford’s relegation last season. The Colombian was the Hornets’ second-highest Premier League goalscorer in 2021/22, with only Emmanuel Dennis (10) scoring more than his five, and he will be joining Columbus Crew.
Mexican centurion Hector Herrera is also on the move, with the 32-year-old bringing an end to his near-decade-long stint in Europe by joining Houston Dynamo. He enjoyed spells at Porto and most recently Atletico Madrid, winning La Liga in 2020/21 with the latter.