LA instead of Madrid: Gareth Bale continues his career in the North American MLS.
Gareth Bale and LA have always been a good match. “I love vacationing in Los Angeles,” said the once most expensive footballer in the world in 2020, he “plays a lot of golf when I’m there.”
For mockers, Bale’s move from Champions League winners Real Madrid to Los Angeles FC is therefore logical. After all, “The Golfer” has shone more on the green than on the lawn for years.
“Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order,” former Real sports director Pedja Mijatovic once etched about the star’s priorities. He cultivated his image when he showed himself grinning behind a flag with this quote after successfully qualifying for the European Championship in 2019 – a “triple bogey” for the AS sheet. Three shots over par? “Never happened to me,” joked Bale.
In his new home he has the opportunity to improve his handicap (three): There are half a dozen courses within a 20 km radius of the Banc of California Stadium. No wonder the renowned Guardian surmised that Bale’s message to the new club was recorded “on a golf course”. In fact, the 32-year-old sent his heartfelt gesture to Hollywood from a Cardiff football pitch.
“This is the right place for me and my family”
“Love to play golf and love to win – that’s not mutually exclusive,” said John Torrington, co-president at LAFC: “You don’t win the Champions League five times if you’re not that hungry.” For financial reasons, Bale did not switch to the MLS.
Indeed, the Welshman is not a designated player earning more than the salary cap allows. Still, the one-year-plus-option deal with background noise is so lucrative that Bale’s hometown Cardiff City “didn’t stand a chance,” according to owner Vincent Tan.
In LA, currently the best team in the MLS, Bale plays with Italy’s veteran star Giorgio Chiellini. “This is the right place for me and my family,” he said. For LA coach Steven Cherundolo, “there aren’t many who can shape a game like that”. Mind you on the soccer field.