Los Angeles, Jul 11 (EFE).- Welsh international Gareth Bale said during his introductory press conference here Monday as a new member of Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC that the City of Angels is the ideal place for him at this point of his career.
“It’s an amazing honor to be here,” the former Real Madrid star said. “This club is an amazing project. After speaking with (LAFC co-Presidents John (Thorrington) and Larry (Freedman), it came very clear to me that this was the place I wanted to be at.”
The 32-year-old winger signed a 12-month contract with options through 2024, LAFC, which joined the MLS as an expansion team in 2018 and has not yet won a championship, announced in late June.
“I haven’t come here just to be here for six months, 12 months. I’ve come here to try to be here as long as possible. I want to do as well as I can,” Bale said. “I want to try to make my mark on this league, on this team. And I look forward to the future. It’s not just a short thing.”
Neither Bale’s number nor the date of his debut match has yet been announced, but he could play as soon as LAFC’s next game against Nashville SC on Sunday, the day after his 33rd birthday.
Bale has arrived in Los Angeles after leading Wales to a spot in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – just the country’s second-ever berth in soccer’s premier event.
He is coming to a club that has the best record in the MLS this season with 39 points, is led by Mexican captain Carlos Vela and recently signed another star veteran of the European leagues, Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Referring to his new teammates, Bale said he is “looking forward to playing with them all. Hopefully I can help improve the team as well, and like we all say our main goal is to try to win a trophy, a championship.”
Bale’s move to the MLS has put an end to his nine-year affiliation with Real Madrid, a club with which he won 19 titles in all, including five Champions League trophies and three La Liga crowns.
The Welshman joined the Blancos in 2013 and formed part of the so-called BBC attacking trio that also included Frenchman Karim Benzema and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bale had moments of brilliance with Real Madrid, including scoring a brace in the club’s victory in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool.
The first of those goals came on an acrobatic bicycle kick early in the second half.
But Bale saw his playing time shrink over the years and was loaned to English club Tottenham in the 2020-2021 season.
In 2021-2022, Bale played a very small role in Real Madrid’s La Liga and Champions League titles, competing in just five Spanish-league contests and two Champions games. EFE