Wales captain Gareth Bale said “it felt like home straight away” after joining Los Angeles FC in Major League Soccer.
The 32-year-old former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward has signed as a free agent after nine years in Spain, with an option to stay for the 2024 season.
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Bale arrived in California on Friday and hours later saw his new club host city rivals Los Angeles Galaxy in his first taste of the ‘El Trafico’ derby.
“What an incredible reception I had when I came in,” Bale told ESPN.
Bale moved to LA after his contract with Real ended at the end of last season. And having helped Wales qualify for a first appearance at a World Cup finals since 1958 Bale is keen to get started at his new club.
“The best prep is to play games. I want to come here. I want to play games and make my stamp and do as best I can to try and help LAFC win a trophy.
“And I can help with the youngsters because it’s a very young team here, give them advice, seeing what I do in terms of professional standard and try to help them.
“The league is a growing league. It was an exciting opportunity I felt was right for me and my family. It’s very new but it’s something that’s really glamorous. It’s just a very attractive club.”
With Bale watching from the stands, his new team won the derby 3-2.
LAFC, the overall MLS leader, visit Nashville and Kansas City over the next two weeks before next playing at home on July 29 against Seattle.