Wales captain Gareth Bale has shared his excitement after Los Angeles FC confirmed he will join them on a 12-month contract that could be extended until 2024.
Los Angeles announced Bale’s arrival on Monday evening with a series of clips showing his finest moments at Real Madrid, where his contract is about to expire in the culmination of his nine-year spell with the LaLiga champions.
Bale replied ‘let’s go’ to a statement from LAFC saying: ‘Bale will occupy an international roster slot upon the receipt of his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.’
Gareth Bale’s shock move to MLS club Los Angeles FC on a free transfer has been confirmed
The club will use Target Allocation Money to sign Bale, which is designed to allow clubs to pay hefty wages on a global scale while remaining within the MLS salary cap.
The funding is used for players who earn around £411,000 ($504,375) annually and has a maximum individual salary limit of more than £1.2m ($1.5m).
Bale had ended speculation that he would sign for Cardiff by posting a photo of himself wearning a black and gold LAFC cap on social media, adding: ‘See you soon, Los Angeles.’
Wales icon Bale will play his home games at the 22,000-capacity Banc of California Stadium
Vincent Tan, the owner of Bale’s hometown club, said the Bluebirds had been unable to compete with the commercial deals available to Bale in the US despite the three-time Champions League winner ‘really wanting’ to play for City.
Former Tottenham winger Bale had also been linked with a return to the Premier League but will have been enticed by the MLS because its season runs until November, a fortnight before Wales’ first World Cup finals campaign since 1958 begins in Qatar.
The 32-year-old played a pivotal role in Wales ending that long wait to reach the finals, including two goals at the Cardiff City Stadium in March as his side beat Austria 2-1 to reach the European Qualifiers final.
Former Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini will be among Bale’s fellow new arrivals at Los Angeles
Wales faced Ukraine at Cardiff’s home on June 5 for a place in the finals, when Andriy Yarmalenko deflected Bale’s free-kick beyond his own goalkeeper to score the only goal of the game and send The Dragons through.
Speaking about Bale’s arrival on Sunday, LAFC co-president John Thorrington said: ‘What I can tell you is that LAFC and Gareth are hoping that this is a long-term partnership and step for Gareth and his family.
‘It was never about six months just for the World Cup. We were always talking about longer term than that. That was very clear from Gareth and his representative.
LAFC are hopeful Bale will stay beyond the 2022 Qatar World Cup, which begins in November
‘Obviously we expect him to be a top, top player for us and in this league, but we will do so sensibly.
‘When Gareth is looking at what he needs to do, his priority will be at LAFC — we are absolutely sure of that.
‘But we’re not naive to the fact that he, like some other players of ours, have a World Cup on the horizon.’
Ex-Arsenal forward Carlos Vela agreed an extension to his LAFC terms a day before Bale signed
The 32-year-old could make his debut against city rivals LA Galaxy, where former Premier League stars including David Beckham and Robbie Keane have played, on July 8.
A report earlier on Monday claimed that Los Angeles will have to pay £40,000 ($50,000) as a result of the signing to Inter Miami, who are co-owned by ex-England captain Beckham.
Diario AS said that the payment would be required to remove Bale from Inter’s ‘discovery list’ of transfer targets which MLS clubs are allowed to compile.