Soccer-Bale completes move to MLS side Los Angeles FC on year-long contract


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - Group D - Wales v Netherlands - Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - June 8, 2022 Wales' Gareth Bale applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Rebecca Naden/File Photo

(Reuters) - Wales forward Gareth Bale has joined Los Angeles FC (LAFC) on a 12-month contract, with options through to 2024, after his departure from LaLiga champions Real Madrid, the Major League Soccer (MLS) side announced on Monday.

The 32-year-old, who signed for Spanish giants Real from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a then-record transfer fee of 100 million euros ($105.84 million), will join as a free agent.

"I am extremely excited for this move to LAFC," Bale said in a statement on LAFC's website.

"This is the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career, and I can't wait to get started working with the team and getting ready to win more trophies in Los Angeles."

Bale enjoyed a trophy-laden spell with Real, winning three LaLiga titles, five Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and the Spanish Cup, although his time at the club was marred by injuries.

The Welshman will likely be best remembered for scoring twice, including a stunning overhead kick, in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool and also for netting a superb winner against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final.

But he was also often targeted by the Spanish media, who labelled him a "parasite" after he missed Real's 4-0 home loss to Barcelona in March immediately before appearing for Wales, and he was jeered by some fans during a league game in April.

Bale led Wales into their first World Cup finals since 1958 when they defeated Ukraine 1-0 in their playoff in Cardiff earlier this month.

In Los Angeles, he will join Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini who signed for LAFC this month after his departure from Juventus.

($1 = 0.9448 euros)

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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