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Report: Former Real Madrid Star Gareth Bale Finalizing Contract with MLS' LAFC

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 25, 2022

James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Longtime La Liga and English Premier League star Gareth Bale is reportedly set to come stateside.

According to MLSSoccer.com's Tom Bogert, the 32-year-old Bale and LAFC are finalizing a deal that will see him land with the MLS club once his contract with Real Madrid expires at the end of June.

Bogert added that Bale's contract with LAFC is expected to be one year in length and will run through June 2023.

World football reporter Fabrizio Romano confirmed Bogert's report and added that it will be a free transfer.

The 32-year-old Bale has spent his entire professional career playing in England and Spain. He made his debut with then-English Football League Championship side Southampton in 2006 before making the move to Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL the following year.

After scoring 72 goals and recording 60 assists for Spurs over 237 appearances, Bale moved to La Liga's Real Madrid for a then-world-record transfer fee of $132.9 million. He played for Los Blancos from 2013 until now, although he did go back to Tottenham on loan during the 2020-21 campaign.

Across all competitions, Bale has 183 career goals, including 106 with Madrid, where he won five UEFA Champions League titles, three La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey.

Individually, he has also won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award in England, one Premier League Player of the Season award and six Welsh Footballer of the Year awards.

While Bale hasn't been a dominant player at club level for some time, he did manage 16 goals in 34 matches for Tottenham in 2020-21, and he played a sizable role in leading Wales to a berth in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Wales beat Ukraine on June 5 to secure their place in Qatar, where Bale could sign off from a legendary international career that has seen him score 39 goals in 106 appearances and lead the team to its first World Cup appearance since 1958.

There was speculation Bale could consider retiring if Wales hadn't made the World Cup, but with qualification secured it seemed certain he would carry on playing until at least the end of the tournament in late 2022.

Bale will join a long line of international stars who decided to play in the United States late in their careers, including Pele, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Villa and Wayne Rooney.

LAFC began play in MLS in 2018 and reached the playoffs in each of their first three seasons before missing out in 2021. They are currently top of the Western Conference Standings with 30 points a 9-3-3 record.

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