Gareth Bale has agreed to join MLS side Los Angeles FC on a one-year deal.
The forward, a free agent after leaving Real Madrid this summer, had other offers but has chosen to move to California and the MLS.
Bale is looking to maintain his fitness ahead of Wales’ appearance at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. They qualified last month after beating Ukraine in their World Cup play-off final in Cardiff with Bale’s free-kick nodded home by Andriy Yarmolenko in the only goal of the game.
Sky Sports News’ Dharmesh Sheth said: “If we go back to just before that famous afternoon when Wales beat Ukraine in the World Cup Qualifiers, there was all sorts of speculation about Gareth Bale’s future. If Wales had failed to qualify for the World Cup, there was even talk that Bale would retire from football altogether.
“Then, when he did help Wales qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, there was even talk that he could join his hometown club, the club he supported as a boy in Cardiff City.
“He held talks with Cardiff City manager Steve Morrison about a potential move there and we were talking about a short-term deal to keep him fit leading into that World Cup in Qatar.
“But it looks like he’s chosen a one-year deal, some are even reporting there is a further option in that deal, to go Stateside with the MLS side LAFC.
“He will be in good company as well because the Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini is set to join LAFC as well.
Bale joined Real Madrid from Tottenham for a then-world-record fee of £ 85.1m in 2013 and often had a fractious relationship with fans and the hierarchy at the La Liga club.
This included high-profile fallings out with Zinedine Zidane, a redemption in the 2018 Champions League final featuring a spectacular overhead kick goal, and a year on loan at former club Tottenham Hotspur in 2021/22.
But he won three La Liga titles, five Champions League trophies – winning one of each last season – plus three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups, the Copa Del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup during his time in Madrid.
On Friday evening, LAFC tweeted a video of a club cap in a box, ready to be sent to someone in a possible tease of Bale’s impending arrival.
Bale bids farewell to Real Madrid fans
Bale signed off from his “dream” nine-year Real Madrid stint with an open letter to the club’s fans.
His relationship with the club’s fans deteriorated over what was often perceived as a work-shy mentality towards the end of his time in Spain, which was not helped when he was pictured alongside a fan’s ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid’ flag in November 2019 after helping his country qualify for Euro 2020.
Despite that, he was given a rapturous applause as he made his final public appearance as a Real player during their Champions League homecoming in May, and responded with an open letter to the club’s fans on social media.
He wrote on Twitter: “I write this message to say thank you to all my team mates, past and present, my managers, the backroom staff and to the fans that supported me.
“I arrived here nine years ago as a young man who wanted to realize my dream of playing for Real Madrid. To wear the pristine white kit, to wear the crest on my chest, to play at the Santiago Bernabeu, to win titles and to be part of what it’s so famous for, to win the Champions League.
“I can now look back, reflect and say with honesty that this dream became a reality and much, much more. To be a part of this club’s history and to achieve what we achieved while I was a Real Madrid player, has been an incredible experience and one I will never forget.
“I also want to thank President Florentino Perez, Jose Angel Sanchez, and the board for giving me the opportunity to play for this club. Together we were able to create some moments that will live forever in the history of this club and football.
“It has been an honor. Thank you! HALA MADRID!”