Gareth Bale: A chance of silverware and golf courses – it’s no wonder he snubbed Cardiff for LA
It sounded like the perfect move. Cardiff born and raised Gareth Bale joins the city’s football club in a dream homecoming as he prepares to lead the Wales national team in their first World Cup in 64 years.
There was a real sense last week that, remarkably, it was a deal that was very possible.
Bale held talks with Cardiff boss Steve Morison as the Championship club shares a training ground with the FAW, where he underwent physio work with the national team’s medical staff. The 32-year-old has reached a point in his career where money isn’t important, so pay wouldn’t have been an issue.
Wales captain Gareth Bale held talks with Cardiff as he weighed up his next move
But of course, the Bluebirds weren’t the only club interested in signing him. Jonathan Barnett, Bale’s agent, told… the athletic that “four or five serious offers” had been made for the attacker, who left Real Madrid as a free agent after nine years in the Spanish capital.
Ultimately, it would come down to personal choice and Bale decided that his next destination would be LAFC on the MLS side – with a one-year contract with an 18-month extension option.
It would be remiss to say that Bale has closed the door of his hometown for good as there is still a chance he will end up in Cardiff later.
The offer to return to the Welsh capital will likely still be on the table however long he continues to play, said Mehmet Dalman, chairman of Bluebirds. WalesOnline that Bale would be ‘always welcome’ at the club. The chance to play in Los Angeles may not come again.
The 32-year-old finally decided to join LAFC on a one-year contract with a possible extension
From a football perspective, Bale joins a team that tops the MLS Western Conference mid-campaign. Former US international Steve Cherundolo is building an impressive reputation in his first season as manager, while ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela, 33, continues to score in his fifth year with the club.
Midfielder Jose Cifuentes was a target of Manchester City a few years ago, while 22-year-old Brian Rodriguez is considered one of the best prospects in MLS and already has 17 caps for Uruguay.
LAFC had already made headlines with one big summer signing before Bale’s arrival, with Juventus’ Euro 2020 winner Giorgio Chiellini. In short, it is a club that does not lack ambition. It’s not a retirement home.
‘I want to win. This team wants to win,” the club’s co-president and general manager John Thorrington said ESPN on Sunday. ‘So [MLS Cup] Our absolute ambition is to win everything we are fighting for, to qualify for the Champions League and really become a bigger part of the global conversation.”
Euro 2020 winner Giorgio Chiellini was another headline addition for LAFC this summer
Ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela, 33, is in his fifth season with LAFC and still scores
Wherever Bale went this summer, he would always be with the World Cup in mind. Having played just seven times for Real Madrid last season, he has made it no secret that he wants to play football regularly in the run-up to the tournament in Qatar.
He gets that at LAFC, while he also doesn’t run the risk of burning out by the winter. Cherundolo has plenty of attacking talent at his disposal with Vela, Rodriguez and Cristian Arango, so he doesn’t have to rely too heavily on Bale.
The MLS season also fits perfectly into the attacker’s preparations. The regular campaign ends on October 9, followed by the playoffs and the MLS Cup final on November 5.
Wales’ opening game in Qatar is against, fittingly, the US on November 21. If all goes according to plan, Bale will arrive at the tournament in peak condition and possibly with some silverware under his belt.
Then, of course, there’s the appeal of the Los Angeles lifestyle. Everyone hardly needs to think twice when given the choice between Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Beach or Chippy Lane, the River Taff and Barry Island.
Bale is desperate for regular minutes after playing just seven games for Real Madrid last season
For whomever Bale signed, it would always be with Wales and the World Cup in mind
Bale is a modern day football icon, but his star pales in comparison to some of the entertainment personalities living in LA. That in itself will greatly appeal to the Welshman, who is known to enjoy a low-key lifestyle away from the limelight.
Steven Gerrard, who spent a year at the end of his career with LA Galaxy, has said it was “refreshing” to be a little-known name in the city.
“I think it’s been noticeable for my whole family, and certainly for me, since I came out of Liverpool and took a step back,” said Gerrard. mr. PORTER† ‘I do feel lighter, as if I have more time. I am a better father, person and friend simply because I live my life with a little less pressure.
“The refreshing and peaceful thing about being here is that no one knows who I am. I can walk down the street, go to a coffee shop, eat out, take the girls to Disneyland or to the movies and 99 percent of the time people don’t know who I am. That’s a nice change.’
Let’s not forget Bale’s passion for golf either. The west coast city is home to 19 golf courses and some of the best in the US, including The Riviera and Los Angeles Country Club. Training in the morning and then 18 holes in a beautiful, iconic location where major championships have been held? Doesn’t sound bad.
Bale has expressed his love for Los Angeles in the past and also spoke glowingly about MLS.
The Los Angeles lifestyle will have been attractive and Bale will be able to live peacefully in the city
Golf fanatic Bale tee off at The Riviera, where major championships have been held
“I really like the competition,” Bale told the Hattrick Podcast in 2020. ‘It has grown so much over the years. When we come to the pre-season, the games are difficult.
“The standard is a lot better. Improve all clubs, improve facilities, improve stadiums.
“It’s a league that’s on the rise and still rising, and I think a lot more players now want to come to America to play. I would certainly be interested in it. I like going on vacation to Los Angeles.”
Perhaps his decision to move to the United States wasn’t so difficult after all.