New LAFC star Gareth Bale ready to make his mark in MLS
In the latest edition of well-worked cap gymnastics by co-chairman and chief executive John Thorrington, LAFC officially introduced Gareth Bale as the latest member of the Black and Gold on Monday and the Welsh superstar is now focused on kick-starting his career in MLS with style. .
Bale, 32, signed for LAFC on June 27 on a free transfer from Real Madrid but did not arrive in Los Angeles until the MLS transfer window opened on July 8. Don’t plan a short stay with LAFC.
“I didn’t come here in the short term,” Bale said in a press conference with reporters. “I want to leave my mark in this league and I’m really looking forward to meeting my teammates and getting started.”
The Wales international brings a decorated history to LAFC, winning PFA Player of the Year in 2011 at Tottenham Hotspur and securing a major move to Real Madrid in 2013. Bale played a major role in Los Blancos’ success in Spain, winning five champions. League titles, four FIFA Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups and three La Liga titles.
Bale’s addition is the latest big-name addition for LAFC this transfer window, with defender Giorgio Chiellini already joining on a free transfer from Juventus. Both players didn’t have to sign designated player contracts on the roster, opening the door for additional reinforcements this summer, should LAFC decide to take another step.
“It’s a league that’s really growing, especially in the last five years, I don’t think anyone sees it as a retirement league…but it’s something exciting, being able to play in front of 3252 is what what you play football for,” Bale said.
In 19 matches, LAFC sit atop the Western Conference and lead the Supporters Shield Race with 39 points with Bale and Chiellini yet to play a single minute for the Los Angeles-based club.
Chiellini was on the bench and Bale was on Friday for LAFC’s 3-2 victory over long distance rivals LA Galaxy. The duo’s debut is likely to come on Sunday against Nashville SC, as LAFC continues its push for a second Supporter Shield in club history.
It remains to be seen how Bale fits into the Black and Gold attack, but the attacking depth available to manager Steve Cherundolo is on paper one of the best in MLS history. 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela remains a key leader in LAFC’s attack, while in-form Cristian Arango has scored seven goals in 19 appearances this season.
Bale has already considered a partnership with Vela in the attacking third, a duo that could quickly become the deadliest in MLS by the end of the season.
“I’m really looking forward to working with him,” Bale said. “I knew [Carlos] and I’ve played against him in the past so we get on really well and I can’t wait to ignite a partnership and hopefully win some games and trophies.
LAFC have won three of their last five league matches and hold a two-point lead over Austin FC for first place in the Western Conference.