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Report: Gareth Bale set to join LAFC on one-year deal

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Gareth Bale has previously been linked with a possible move to MLS and now the Welsh international is all but set to move to California for the next chapter of his career.

LAFC is closing a deal to sign Bale on a one-year contract until June 2023, The Athletic reported Saturday. Bale’s contract will also include an option to extend his stay at Banc of California Stadium until January 2025.

He is the second major acquisition by LAFC this year, following Italian international defender Giorgio Chiellini.

The 32-year-old Bale was previously linked with both LAFC, L.A. Galaxy, and D.C. United earlier this year. Bale is preparing for involvement in the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Wales, which will be the country’s first World Cup appearance in 64 years.

A former Southampton academy product, Bale totaled 55 goals with Tottenham in 203 combined appearances for the English Premier League club. Bale joined Real Madrid in September 2013 on a €100.8 million world-record deal from Tottenham and went on to win five UEFA Champions League titles, three La Liga titles, and one Spanish Copa del Rey trophy.

Injuries and a lack of form hampered Bale’s playing time for Real Madrid over the past season, totaling only seven appearances for the Spanish club. He also netted 16 goals in 34 appearances on loan with Tottenham during the 2020-21 campaign, in search of consistent playing time.

LAFC currently sits top of the Western Conference and has several top MLS talents on its roster including Carlos Vela, Kellyn Acosta, and Ilie Sanchez.

Comments

  1. …..a big powerful forward that likes to take players on, is an accurate passer, is a sharp shooter in front of goal and has pace…..lots of pace. If (and the question is if!!!!) Bale can remain in decent form and fitness, he is going to be a nightmare for MLS defenders

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    • Does he still have lots of pace though? If he’s interested I think he’ll be successful but is he still fast?

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      • Saw parts of a couple of Wales’s games this past window because I was interested and I can tell you straight-up: no. He used to pick up that ball and just blaze and nobody could get near him…that part of his game is gone. Still has a wicked shot and around the goal if he picked up the ball he still looked dangerous and could still make that bit of space for himself and he’s still deadly on set pieces…but he’s not going to drive at (or especially past) guys anymore. Honestly for long stretches he looked…invisible, to the point you’d barely remember he was on the field.

      • Of course he is still fast, The man is only 32 years old. Is he as fast as he’s ever been? Probably not, but he’s still fast- faster than most MLS forwards I’m sure.

        For a quick reference – at 30 years old Usain Bolt was still competing as the fastest man alive. Bolt is 35 now and I think he won 3 gold medals in the 2016 Olympics. So he was 29 at those Olympics. He still competed in 2017.

        Zlatan is 40! Cristiano Ronaldo is 37 years old- I don’t hear anyone saying- “Boy that Ronaldo is slow now”.

      • UCLA – even two years ago it was noticed that Bale had slowed down appreciably when he returned to Spurs. Again, if you watched any of the recent Wales fixtures, you probably wouldn’t have noticed him, like at all, in the open field.

        https://talksport.com/football/781195/gareth-bale-pace-tottenham-spurs-jamie-ohara/

        I mean, heck, DeAndre Yedlin is just 28 now and he’s lost a step though he’s not slow. Dunno why some guys lose it faster than others and you see mutants like Ronaldo still galloping around at 37 but that’s how it goes, too. I do remember by age 32, Landon Donovan’s legs were pretty much gone too and his game fell right off a cliff.

      • JRazor

        “If he’s interested I think he’ll be successful but is he still fast?”

        How fast does he have to be to remain dangerous? No one is going to neutralize him just because they are faster than him.

        They’ll have to foul Bale and LAFC is now dangerous on any free kick within 40 yards or so.

        Guys like him are still a danger at his age because they are talented enough and smart enough to figure out how to get it done.

        Wales did not get to the World Cup on the basis of Bale being the unstoppable one man wrecking crew he used to be.

        They got there because they became a better team by figuring out how to make the best use of what he can still do. LAFC should do the same.

        To paraphrase Cruyff “the faster player is the one who starts running first”.

        The biggest MLS question for Bale is can he stay fit and healthy enough for the World Cup?

        That’s what really matters to USMNT fans isn’t it?

        Bale might put it on cruise control in MLS to save his body but the World Cup is only 3-7 games at most so as long as Bale gets to Qatar in good shape, he ought to be able to raise his game.

        For example, when Ariolla gets to Qatar the World Cup intensity will be such that he might be able to raise his game to previously unheard of levels.

        The same thing applies to Bale.

        Gareth’s ceiling however, is just a bit higher than Paul’s so if he raises his ceiling, he could be much more frightening than Paul. And that’s pretty scary for the USMNT.

        Landon used MLS his entire career to stay fit for the World Cup.

        Bale should talk to him.

    • Bizzy said he had “pace, lots of pace.” I was asking a serious question given he’s 32 and has missed significant amounts of matches each year for the last 7 years do to leg injuries. Vacqui: we’ve seen some European players come to MLS without much ambition and not do much. We’ve seen others be motivated to do well. That was all the quote you mentioned was referring to. Even if he’s lost most of his speed, if he’s motivated he’s got the talent to be successful. If he’s going to be largely disinterested like say Higuain then it’s probably not going to work great.

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      • My interest in this transaction is in how it relates to the USMNT. It actually is good for them in that its a bit easier to see how Bale is developing and what kind of threat he might realistically be to them. Long and Zimmerman may get to take him on one on one. Roldan and Acosta will get their chances to dominate him and bend him to their will.

        As usual he’s not the freaky one man wrecking crew he used to be, but he also is not the washed up broken down has-been we sometimes saw at Spurs.

        He’s somewhere in between and what Wales is hoping is that he can save the best for the 3-7 games in Qatar.

        I’m sure Bale is hoping to chart some kind of middle course, get enough games in to keep fit and make sure that he gives LAFC their money’s worth but stay in form and not get hurt.

        I think we’ll see the best and the worst of him in LA.

        When Clint transferred back to the Sounders his initial time there did not go well ( I think he was also recovering from injury) and the 2014 WC was coming up. Clint felt the need to go back to Fulham on loan to get ready for Brazil.

        “It feels good to be back,” he told the Fulham club website. “This has always felt like my home in Europe

        “Going into a World Cup year, I want to get back to playing at the highest level and get back to top form.”

        He got in a few games and worked some stuff out. His time there wasn’t impressive from a productivity aspect but it seems like it helped him show up for the 2014 World Cup in good form.

        Bale has not played a whole lot with Real lately so he may be looking at LAFC in a variation of the way that Clint was looking at his Fulham loan.

        We’ll have to factor that in when evaluating how he might play in Qatar.

  2. Awesome ! Good for the league and good for the MLS and good for the USMNT. No player has ever come to MLS and gotten better. Few have not recessed (Zlatan)

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  3. From a p.r. standpoint, a huge get. Will he stay healthy and does he have anything left? I don’t know how much they will be paying him, but it is probably worth the gamble just for the jersey sales.

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  4. Kind of figured. They were talking Cardiff City for him because, well, Wales, but the Championship is one of the kickiest, roughest leagues in Europe and the season schedule doesn’t really suit his timeframe anyhow…he wants to be done with soccer after the World Cup.

    So MLS – and its schedule that runs right up to November – makes sense for him. And a guy like him was just not going to go to San Jose or Minnesota no matter how much the residents might like those towns.

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