Gareth Bale signs with MLS leaders Los Angeles FC

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LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles FC have agreed a deal for Welsh striker Gareth Bale to join Major League Soccer following his departure from Real Madrid, a person familiar with the deal has told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Saturday as details of the 12-month deal are still being finalized between Bale and MLS leaders LAFC, which also added Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini to its roster this month -this.

Bale, 32, moves to the United States after spending most of the last nine years in Madrid. His contract expires this summer, making him a free agent after his tenure with the current Champions League winners ends.

Bale basically confirmed the move with a tweet on Saturday, writing “See you soon, Los Angeles”, accompanied by a video of himself wearing an LAFC jersey and hat.

Bale is one of the most dynamic attacking players of his generation when healthy and in a top team. He scored 106 goals in 258 appearances for Madrid, who won five Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns during his tenure.

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But Bale has played sparingly and at times ineffectively for Madrid in recent years. He made just seven appearances for the European champions last season while battling several injuries.

Bale also went on a season-long loan to Tottenham in 2020-21, scoring 16 goals in 34 appearances for Spurs. The brilliant goalscorer joined Madrid from Spurs in 2013 for a then-record transfer fee.

Bale will get a fresh start in sunny Southern California alongside Chiellini, who joined LAFC after 17 seasons at Juventus and an impressive international career for Italy.

Bale is rumored to be considering retirement if Wales failed to qualify for the World Cup, but his national side secured a place in Qatar last month. Bale will be able to chase a trophy in Los Angeles while still staying fit for the rigors of the World Cup.

The MLS regular season ends on October 9, while the MLS Cup final – the potential final game of the MLS season – is scheduled for November 5, just over two weeks before the start of the League Cup. world.

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Bale and Chiellini would both be eligible to make their debuts for LAFC after the secondary transfer window opens on July 7. LAFC hosts arch-rival LA Galaxy on July 8.

They are expected to join a formidable core alongside Mexican striker and former MLS MVP Carlos Vela, whose tenure at LAFC is set to be extended after his own contract expires this summer.

LAFC signs both Chiellini and Bale with targeted allocated money, an accolade that leaves a Designated Player slot open if the club decides to add another star player who can be paid above the MLS salary cap .

LAFC have been among the top teams in MLS since their inception as an expansion franchise in 2018, but despite winning a supporters’ shield as regular-season champions, the club have yet to lift the league’s post-season trophy.

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