Gareth Bale is finalizing a deal to play football – and golf – in America after deciding to join Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC.
The Welsh icon appeared to be closing in on an emotional return to boyhood club Cardiff after ending his nine-year spell at Real Madrid.
But Bale, whose main aim is to ensure he heads to the World Cup in top condition, has stunned the footballing world by signing with LAFC.
Still, it was perhaps a move the former Tottenham winger’s fans should have seen coming due to the last time he came close to leaving Madrid.
The 32-year-old’s time in Spain appeared to have increased two years ago following a public fallout with then-boss Zinedine Zidane.
And Bale teased at the time that he could end up in MLS after revealing his love of golf in Los Angeles.
Speaking to the Hat-Trick Podcast presented by the ICC in May 2020, he said: “I really like the league.
“I think he’s grown so much over the years. When we come to play them in pre-season, the matches are difficult, the level improves a lot.
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“Clubs are improving, facilities are improving, stadiums are improving.
“I think it’s a league that’s on the rise and continues to rise. I think a lot more players want to come to America now and play. It would certainly interest me.
“I love going to Los Angeles on vacation.”
Asked what he likes to do in California, Bale added: “I play a lot of golf.
“I played Pebble [Beach] two to three times. I played at Cypress Point which is a private club next to Pebble Beach – it was probably the best course I have ever played so far.
Bale’s love for golf is recognised, with the striker having been nicknamed ‘The Golfer’ by his former Real Madrid teammates.
He has a purpose-built three-hole golf course in the back garden of his home in Wales and is set to open a golf-themed bar in Bristol.
But the sport has also resulted in a messy fallout with the Spanish media after it infamously waved a ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid’ banner on international duty.
Considered by many to be the greatest British player of all time, Bale will now follow Giorgio Chiellini as he heads to MLS this summer.
LAFC was only founded in 2014, but currently leads the Western Conference in MLS.
At LAFC, Bale will play alongside former Arsenal star Carlos Vela, who won the league MVP award and Golden Boot with the club in 2019.
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