Wales captain Gareth Bale is confident he will be fully fit for the start of the World Cup despite concerns over his lack of game time for Los Angeles FC.

Bale has only started two matches since making the move to MLS at the end of his time with Real Madrid. 

But the forward allayed worries over his fitness with the World Cup in Qatar on the horizon.

"We have a plan in LA with what we're doing," said Bale, who has reported for international duty for Nations League encounters with Belgium and Poland.

"We're not doing too much straight away.  But we're being clever and building myself up for the last important part of the season. Hopefully, that should put me in great shape for the World Cup."

Bale was hampered by injury problems during his time with Madrid and says it is important to manage his workload.

He added: “The most important thing is to take each week as it comes.

“It's taken a little while to get everything sorted, but I am playing games and have been training for the last 10 weeks and getting stronger.

"Hopefully that will be good enough for me to help LAFC and, ultimately, be ready for the World Cup."

Wales boss Rob Page echoed Bale’s sentiments, saying it would be foolish to take any chances.

He said: "We've always had a common-sense approach with Gareth with regards to his planning and training. It'll be no different on this camp. I'm not going to jeopardise it and run the risk of him getting injured. 

"I want him to go back to his club fully fit, and continuing to get fitter ahead of the World Cup."

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini's recent absences from the Los Angeles FC squad due to fitness reasons is "pretty normal", according to head coach Steve Cherundolo.

Recent high-profile signings Bale and Chiellini sat out Tuesday's 1-0 win over D.C. United, having previously also missed the 5-0 victory over Charlotte FC last weekend.

Cherundolo confirmed the pair, who have each featured four times since officially arriving at the club in June, have not been called upon for precautionary measures.

The LAFC coach will continue to play it safe when it comes to selecting the experienced duo, with Bale having yet to make his first start for the MLS side.

"Gareth hasn't been 100 per cent," Cherundolo said. "We are just kind of moving along. I think this is pretty normal – aches and pains in the middle of a pre-season for a player.

"Trying to get your body in a position where you can play 90 minutes week in, week out in the middle of a season is difficult and sometimes there are little mini-setbacks.

"That's where we currently are with both of them. But it is purely precautionary."

Substitute Mahala Opoku scored the only goal of the game against D.C. United as LAFC extended their club-record winning streak to seven matches.

Cherundolo's charges are top of the overall MLS standings and return to action on Saturday with a road game at San Jose Earthquakes.

Los Angeles FC coach Steve Cherundolo said there can be "no more hiding" for Gareth Bale after the former Real Madrid star proved his quality against Real Salt Lake.

Bale scored his second MLS goal since moving to LAFC when he made it 4-1 in Utah late on during Saturday's match.

The 33-year-old, who had replaced Carlos Vela in the 64th minute, surged from inside his own half before skipping down the right flank, taking on a batch of defenders and drilling home to cap a fifth straight MLS win over RSL for LAFC.

All four of Bale's MLS appearances so far have come from the bench, with the Wales forward playing just 96 minutes in total, but Cherundolo hinted that now has to change.

"It's a great moment for Gareth, and for the team, he's a well-liked guy in the group," LAFC's coach told a news conference.

"It was a well-taken goal. We told Gareth after the game, now we all know he can run, and there's no hiding.

"Ecstatic for him, he feels healthier and more fit by the day and I'm sure we'll see more of that."

LAFC sit top of the Western Conference on 51 points from 23 games in 2022, and are well on course to beat the MLS single-season points record of 73, set by the New England Revolution last year.

Cherundolo, though, does not let such a potential feat concern him.

"RSL played well, they had a good gameplan, for sure," he added. "Every team shows up to play against us, usually plays particularly well.

"If you're in first place, there’s a target on your back, so we know that. As far as goals go, we're taking this game-to-game, sometimes half-to-half.

"We're not too concerned with records or the table at the moment. Obviously we like where we're at, we'd like to stay there, but we'll take this week-to-week."

Italy international Lorenzo Insigne netted his first goal in the MLS as Toronto won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 over Nashville on Saturday, while Gareth Bale was on the scoresheet again for LAFC.

The 31-year-old winger fired in Toronto's fourth goal to make it 4-2 in the 77th minute with a near-post strike from just outside the box.

Insigne, making his third MLS appearance for Toronto, showed his class to create a pocket of space for himself before opening up his body to fire past Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis.

The goal headlined an entertaining contest which helped Toronto claim their seventh win of the season as they seek to mount a late-season charge.

Jonathan Osorio rifled Toronto in a 19th-minute lead but Hany Mukhtar's penalty squared it up in the 41st minute. Osorio restored Toronto's lead by tapping in Richie Laryea's low ball across goal, yet Nashville were level by half-time when Teal Bunbury glanced in off the post from a corner.

Filippo Bernardeschi put Toronto up again with an emphatic 54th-minute penalty before Insigne's moment with just under quarter of an hour to go. Walker Zimmerman headed in a late goal from Mukhtar's corner but Nashville could not find an equaliser as Toronto claimed their first road win in 378 days.

Bale, making his fourth appearance for his new club, netted his second MLS goal in LAFC's 4-1 victory against Real Salt Lake.

The Walsh international came on in the 64th minute with LAFC 3-1 up after Cristian Arango's double and added the fourth with a classy solo goal. Bale ran down the right flank, beating away two defenders, before tucking into the box and finding his favoured left foot for a trademark strike.

Cincinnati made a statement with a strong 3-1 home win against Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union.

All three of Cincinnati's goals came in the second half, after Brenner had a first-goal strike disallowed by the VAR. Brandon Vazquez, Brenner and Alvaro Barreal netted for Cincinnati, who move up to sixth, while Paxton Aaronson scored a late consolation for Union.

Under-performing New England snapped their six-game winless run to revive their playoffs hopes with a 3-0 victory at Orlando City.

Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum and Henry Kessler got the goals, with Carles Gil grabbing his 12th assist of the season for the latter's strike.

New York City were unable to capitalise on Philadelphia's loss, going down 3-2 at Columbus Crew, for whom Lucas Zelarayan scored a brace.

Gonzalo Higuain got on the scoresheet as Inter Miami rallied from behind to twice to manage a 2-2 draw at Montreal.

Bottom club DC United held New York Red Bulls to a 0-0 draw, while Chicago Fire made it four wins in five games with a 3-2 victory at Charlotte.

In the west, Javier Hernandez netted a late double but it was not enough for LA Galaxy who went down 4-2 at Sporting KC.

Gyasi Zardes scored a hat-trick as Colorado Rapids edged Minnesota United 4-3, Austin and San Jose Earthquakes drew 3-3 and Portland Timbers and Dallas both scored late in a 1-1 draw.

Gareth Bale is yet to start for Los Angeles FC, but already "life seems a little bit better" in MLS for the much-maligned former Real Madrid forward.

Bale has joined LAFC after leaving Madrid, where he won five Champions League titles but was criticised for appearing to prioritise his international career with Wales.

The 33-year-old will lead his country into the Qatar World Cup last this year, yet he is first having an impact at LAFC.

Bale has made three appearances from the bench for a total of 71 minutes, scoring against Sporting Kansas City last week.

The former Tottenham man's latest 28-minute shift against the Seattle Sounders on Friday was his longest yet, helping LAFC to see out a 2-1 win courtesy of Carlos Vela's goal shortly before half-time.

After the game, in which Kwadwo Opoku cancelled out an early Jesus Murillo own goal, Bale told FOX Sports: "I think any player will tell you if they have a smile on their face, they enjoy football more, you play better, a bit more enthusiastically, and life seems a little bit better.

"I want to get back to enjoying my football, and I feel like I am on the road to do that, and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead."

LAFC have won all three games in which Bale has featured, but he is no stranger to success. The warm welcome he has received in the United States is slightly less familiar.

"It's hard to pinpoint [why he is enjoying his football], but a happy environment, the fans are so welcoming," he explained. "Even in the away stadiums, they are not so bad, I guess.

"It's just a family, friendly environment, and it's what football should be, the place where you bring your kids. It's not hostile, and it just seems like a great environment in MLS."

LAFC can afford to ease Bale in, as they lead the Supporters' Shield race by six points following this latest victory.

Coach Steve Cherundolo described Bale as "in week three of pre-season" and "probably around a 45-minute range".

Gareth Bale is "happy and settled" at Los Angeles FC after a first goal for the club, with the Wales star's comments further hinting at Real Madrid acrimony.

Bale ended his near-decade-long association with another pair of titles in La Liga and the Champions League last term, but once more cut a peripheral figure at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Having spent the 2020-21 season back on loan with former club Tottenham, the forward made only 12 appearances last season for Madrid. 

But Bale marked his fresh start in MLS on Saturday in style after coming off the bench for his LAFC debut, striking a typically fine effort to ensure a 2-0 victory against Sporting KC.

"I'm enjoying it here - everybody at the club has made me feel very welcome, and I've settled straight away," he said in his post-match interview.

The Welshman added a possible jibe at his Madrid treatment, following up with: "I think any player will tell you when they feel happy and settled, they start to play their best football."

Cristian Aranga opened the scoring for the visitors at Children's Mercy Park just before the hour mark, before Bale came off the bench to make his first appearance for the club.

His low effort secured a third straight win for LAFC, cementing their lead at the top of the Western Conference, as they look to build momentum for an anticipated postseason push.

"Obviously, I think the most important thing is that we won the game, first and foremost," Bale added. "We all knew the first half maybe wasn't good enough but the manager had another great team talk and got us going.

"[It was] nice to come on and grab a goal to help the team get three points. From a personal point of view, it's nice to get off the mark and help the team get three points."

"The transition has been a normal one, We'd be in pre-season now in Europe, so I'm getting my fitness back up quickly.

"The club's doing an amazing job to progress me and not push me too quick. I'm starting to feel better and better, and I'm glad to contribute tonight."

Los Angeles FC momentarily opened up a four-point gap atop the Western Conference in the MLS, defeating Sporting KC 2-0 on Saturday.

Gareth Bale came off the bench to score his first goal in the MLS and seal the three points for LAFC, after Cristian Arango's well-taken opener.

With Giorgio Chiellini also starting, Steve Cherundolo's side absorbed pressure after Arango scored in the 56th minute, firing past Tim Melia at his near post with a confident finish on the run.

Bale was able to settle the result in transition for LAFC in the 83rd minute, driving low into the corner after creating separation from Nicolas Isimat-Mirin.

The win puts LAFC four points ahead of second-placed Austin FC in the West, who are still to face New York RB on Sunday, while Nashville and Cincinatti played out a 1-1 draw.

FC Dallas kept their hopes of a top-four finish in the West alive meanwhile, emerging 1-0 victors away to Real Salt Lake, while Minnesota moved to third with their 2-1 victory over Houston Dynamo.

The Seattle Sounders are now a point from the playoff spots, overcoming Kelyn Rowe's 47th-minute red card to defeat the Colorado Rapids 2-1, while the Portland Timbers beat the SJ Earthquakes with the same result.

Philadelphia Union hold a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference, with Daniel Gazdag's 39th-minute goal handing them a critical 1-0 win away to Orlando City.

The stingiest defence in the MLS held out to maintain their gap to New York City, who beat Inter Miami 2-0 via goals from Maximiliano Moralez and Heber.

CF Montreal moved back to third, with a Romell Quioto brace handing them a 2-1 win over DC United, while Toronto FC claimed a shock 4-0 win over a ten-man Charlotte FC.

Chicago Fire took advantage to move two points from the playoff spots, with Xherdan Shaqiri helping them to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, while Columbus Crew and New England Revolution played out a goal-less draw.

 

Eden Hazard has no intentions of leaving Real Madrid to follow Gareth Bale to Major League Soccer, insisting "I want to show people that I can play in this club".

Hazard has struggled at Santiago Bernabeu since completing his big-money move from Chelsea in June 2019, with injuries and fitness issues hampering the forward.

The Belgium international was largely a spectator last season, making just seven starts for his 17 LaLiga appearances as Madrid earned European and Spanish glory.

That followed the pattern of a frustrating spell in the Spanish capital, where he has made only 48 appearances in LaLiga for the club – 20 of which have come from the bench.

But the 31-year-old, who has just 10 league goal involvements for Madrid (four goals, six assists), is out to prove a point and show his worth to Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"It's been a few seasons that I was not playing that much, so for me... I just want to show what I can do on the pitch – that's my only target," he told ESPN.

"When you play football, you just want to be on the pitch, and when you are out [of] the pitch... [You think] 'What's happened?' because I was not injured before and so it was something new for me to be injured, so you have to learn.

"It's a way to learn the way you have to do things, your body, you take care [of] in different ways, you work more with physios, this kind of thing. But it's a good challenge now... I'm healthy, so I'm just ready to play.

"It's not that easy, especially when you don't know why you're injured. I've been injured at my time at Chelsea, but not like those three years with Real Madrid.

"I knew that it was something wrong with my body, so that's why I asked to do the surgery at the end of the season last year."

Bale ended his spell with Madrid as he joined MLS side Los Angeles FC at the end of June, aiming to gain fitness and match practice to feature for Wales at the upcoming Qatar World Cup in November.

Hazard has no intentions of moving to the United States to join Bale in the near future, though, with his sole focus on playing for Madrid for at least the next two years.

"I don't think about that that much now, I'm just focused," he said when asked about a transfer to MLS.

"It's been three years [which have been] hard for me, so I'm just focused on this season. I still have a contract after two more years, and then we'll see.

"In two years I'm going to be 33, so let's see what can happen."

Gareth Bale claimed the standard of football in Major League Soccer has risen in recent years after he and Giorgio Chiellini made their Los Angeles FC debut in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Bale made his MLS bow as a 72nd-minute substitute in Tennessee, while Italy and Juventus legend Chiellini played the first hour of a victory that put LAFC one point clear at the Western Conference summit.

The Wales winger, who won five Champions League titles during a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid before his contract expired in June, suggested last week that MLS was "not a retirement league".

And Bale repeated that assertion after his maiden appearance, telling LAFC's website: "The standard of football, even just watching, has improved massively from when I used to watch it in the past and when I've played against an all-star team or played other teams in the past.

"The football's good, I enjoyed being on there. I definitely think the perception [of the league] is changing, I think a lot of players came over and really struggled and got a big wake-up call by it.

"I've spoken to other players about it, so I know the quality is improving. I haven't come here just to wind down, I want to contribute as much as I can, to try to win games and trophies."

Bale caught the eye during his first cameo with the 2019 Supporters' Shield winners, and admitted he had grown restless watching from the bench early on.

"It felt amazing, I was itching from the first half, as soon as I got on the bench I wanted to get off and help the team," he added. "[It's] important as well for me individually that I get my fitness going, obviously it's the end of the season in Europe. 

"It's good to get some minutes and more importantly, we got the three points, so everybody's happy.

"I want to come in and do what I do, but fit into the team's style of play as well. It's going to take a bit of time to get used to everything, but I'm quite switched on."

Chiellini, meanwhile, highlighted the difficulties caused by the humid conditions in Nashville, but was pleased to have passed his first test since departing Serie A.

"I expected the difficulties we had in the match because it is good team and also for me especially, it's my first match for almost two months, and it's too hot in Nashville!" the defender said.

"But I was feeling better minute by minute. I'm very happy because it was a difficult game, and it is very important for us to win"

New York City earned an important win for their season on Sunday, defeating local rivals New York RB to claim the Hudson River Derby on Sunday.

With City and NYRB second and third respectively in the Eastern Conference coming into Sunday's match, the stakes were higher than usual and it reflected in the fine margins the game was played within.

It was fitting the winning goal also reflected that, with NYRB defender Sean Nealis caught square for just a fraction of a second in the 69th minute, as the game grew increasingly tense.

That lapse was enough for Santiago Rodriguez to perfectly weigh a pass over his head for Valentin Castellanos, who ran onto it off his blind side, before finishing first-time past the approaching Carlos Coronel for his MLS-leading 13th goal of the season.

City restored their one-point deficit to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union with the win, while opening up a critical five-point gap to NYRB in third.

Elsewhere in the East, Atlanta United and Orlando City could only manage a 1-1 draw, while Columbus Crew took full advantage, moving to sixth win a 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference, Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale made their debuts for Los Angeles FC as they reclaimed top spot with a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Chiellini started while Bale came off the bench but by then, LAFC had already reclaimed the lead via Jose Cifuentes, after Hany Mukhtar cancelled out Cristian Arango's opening goal.

Real Salt Lake took full advantage, moving back into third in the West with a 3-0 win over Sporting KC, while Houston Dynamo claimed a 2-1 victory over the SJ Earthquakes.

In Sunday's final game, the traditional rivals from the NASL and USL in the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers played out a 1-1 draw.

Gareth Bale's new Los Angeles FC team-mate Jose Cifuentes has explained why he decided to hand over his squad number to Major League Soccer's latest star import.

Bale signed for LAFC in June after leaving Real Madrid on the expiration of his contract.

The Welsh winger, who turns 33 this week, has signed a one-year deal with the MLS team, though that deal can be extended through to 2024.

With a World Cup campaign with Wales on the horizon in Qatar, Bale has the chance to stay at the top of his game in California, and he will be able to do so while wearing his preferred shirt number – 11.

Bale has worn the number 11 for his country for over a decade, while he also wore it in his last season at Tottenham in 2013-14, and his first seven campaigns with Madrid.

With the number occupied by Erik Lamela when Bale returned to Spurs on loan in 2020, the forward took number nine, while he was given the number 18 last season for Los Blancos.

However, even though Cifuentes was already wearing 11 for LAFC, he was happy to hand it over to Bale.

Writing on his official Instagram account, Cifuentes said: "[Number] 11 has accompanied my career at LAFC from the beginning and although it is special and has an important meaning, I have decided to give it to Gareth, who has used that number much longer than me.

"My interest is to contribute so that my team-mates, the club and the fans feel supported by me and with this gesture I want to demonstrate that.

"Let's stay together because we need each other to achieve the goals."

Cifuentes scored twice in LAFC's last game, a 3-2 derby win over LA Galaxy, with only Carlos Vela and Cristian Arango having managed more MLS goals than the midfielder among his team-mates so far in 2022.

Bale's MLS debut is likely to come against Nashville later this week.

Gareth Bale insisted Major League Soccer is "not a retirement league", and he hopes his move to Los Angeles FC will allow him to stay in contention for Wales at least until Euro 2024.

While his initial deal with LAFC is only a one-year agreement, it could be extended through to 2024, when Wales will be hoping to compete in the European Championship.

Bale left Real Madrid at the end of June after his contract was allowed to expire, with the forward – who was once the most expensive player of all time – enduring a difficult final few years at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His attitude and commitment to Madrid were often called into question by supporters, who routinely voiced their frustration towards him in recent years.

But Bale has continued to be worshipped by Wales supporters, and he more than played his part in helping them secure qualification to the World Cup for the first time since 1958 earlier this year.

Keeping himself fit ahead of Qatar 2022 is undoubtedly a key reason for the move to MLS, although Bale was eager to stress how he sees the potential for a long-term future in the United States.

While MLS has garnered a reputation for being a league where high-profile European players go to retire, Bale is adamant that is no longer the case.

"Like I said, this is a league that's really grown, that's come a long way in the last 10 years," he told reporters at his official presentation on Monday.

"Everyone's striving to improve the league, the players who come over see that as well. I don't think anyone sees it now as a retirement league, it's really a league that's physical, demanding; the weather changes are difficult, the travel is difficult.

"But it's exciting, and to play football in front of fans like these is what you play football for."

Bale's new club were only founded in 2014, debuting in MLS in 2018, but have since gone on to make a real impression on the sport in North America, even reaching the final of the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League.

Many were surprised by Bale's decision to head for the States given he reportedly had offers from English clubs and boyhood team Cardiff City, but he is convinced the European perception of MLS is outdated.

"I've watched MLS for a long time," he said. "Obviously the time difference makes it difficult, but whenever I could watch I'd try to catch it on the TV.

"The standard is really increasing, it's a lot better than people in Europe really think.

"The quality is improving, the league is improving, the stadiums are improving, the teams are improving.

"It's a league really on the rise. Yes, it's a new club, but it feels like it's been here forever. The job Larry [Freedman] and John [Thorrington, co-presidents] and rest of the team here have done to create such an amazing fanbase so quickly is remarkable.

"It's testament to how well the club is run, and I'm happy to be a part of it.

"To have my first training session today was amazing, the first step in hopefully a long journey."

Gareth Bale hailed the "incredible reception" he received after being presented to the Los Angeles FC fans for the first time since his move to the MLS leaders.

The former Real Madrid and Tottenham forward recently joined the MLS franchise on a one-year deal, which could be extended through to 2024, following his departure from Los Blancos.

The Wales international will be hoping for plenty of game time ahead of the World Cup later this year, and what will be the Dragons' first appearance at the finals since 1958.

Bale arrived in California on Friday and received a rapturous reception at the Banc of California Stadium when he was paraded to the supporters ahead of his new side's 'El Trafico' derby against rivals LA Galaxy.

LAFC ran out 3-2 winners and the 32-year-old is excited by the ongoing project at the franchise formed back in 2014.

 

"What an incredible reception I had when I came in," he told ESPN.

"The best prep [for the World Cup] 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."

Gareth Bale says he has joined Los Angeles FC at "the right time" in his career and is hoping to add more trophies to his haul during his time in Major League Soccer.

LAFC announced on Monday that Bale has joined the club on a 12-month deal, with the option to extend through to 2024, following the expiration of his Real Madrid contract.

As part of the deal, LAFC must pay fellow MLS side Inter Miami $75,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) in exchange for the discovery priority to Bale.

The Wales international had been linked with a number of teams, including former side Tottenham and hometown club Cardiff City, but he has opted for a move Stateside.

And 32-year-old Bale, who is looking to maintain his fitness ahead of Wales' World Cup 2022 campaign in November, believes he has made the right choice.

"I am extremely excited for this move to LAFC," he told the club's official website. "This is the right place for me and my family and the right time in my career. 

"I cannot wait to get started working with the team and getting ready to win more trophies in Los Angeles."

Bale spent nine years with Madrid – including a season on loan at Tottenham in 2020-21 – and won 16 trophies in the Spanish capital.

However, he made just 21 league appearances combined in his final two campaigns at the Santiago Bernabeu, either side of that Spurs loan, after falling out of favour.

Bale has continued to prove his pedigree over that time with Wales, most recently playing a key part in the recent World Cup qualifying play-off wins over Austria and Ukraine.

The Southampton academy product will boost an LAFC side who already lead the Supporters' Shield race, and head coach Steve Cherundolo is delighted with the acquisition.

"There are simply not many players in the world who can have an impact on a match like Gareth Bale," Cherundolo said. 

"He can be dangerous in so many different ways, and we expect him to complement what we believe is already a strong team from the moment he arrives. 

"His knowledge of the game and experience in playing in big games will be invaluable for our club."

LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington added: "I am grateful to Gareth's management team who helped make this happen. 

"It's clear Gareth is highly motivated to continue winning trophies and we're elated he has made the choice to join LAFC and help lead us in our goal of winning championships."

Bale and fellow new signing Giorgio Chiellini are eligible to make their LAFC debuts against the LA Galaxy in El Trafico on July 8.

Gareth Bale was tempted by a move to Cardiff City but the offer tabled by Los Angeles FC proved "too attractive to turn down", according to Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan.

Wales international Bale confirmed in a video posted on social media on Sunday that he will join MLS side LAFC when his Real Madrid contract expires later this week.

The 32-year-old had also been linked with Madrid-based Getafe, which he categorically ruled out, as well as former side Tottenham and hometown club Cardiff among others.

Bale is reported to have held talks with Cardiff boss Steve Morison during a recent trip to the club's training base, which they share with the Wales national side.

Cardiff owner Tan has confirmed the Welsh side were in for the forward, but they were unable to match the terms offered by LAFC – even if money was not the decisive factor.

"We were very, very keen and of course it would have been a big coup for us and would have been great for Gareth Bale to play for his hometown," Tan told talkSPORT.

"We tried our very best, but we failed. Everybody would be happy if Gareth Bale returned home and played in Cardiff, but unfortunately the offer was too attractive to turn down.

"He actually originally wanted to come, money wasn't the matter. We still tried to come up with a good offer for him.

"But finally we had to compete when there is a lot of big American advertisers. The commercial deals there were very good, the commercial deal was very good for Gareth Bale."

 

Bale is to join LAFC on a year-long contract using targeted allocation money, taking him through until the World Cup, where Wales will compete after a 64-year absence.

The Southampton academy product reportedly has the option to stay on for the 2023 season, but Tan has not ruled out a switch to Cardiff next year to see out his career.

"His contract is for 12 months. We will see what happens. Maybe in 12 months Gareth will want to come back and come home, serve Cardiff, his hometown," Tan said.

"He has never played in Cardiff, a club he and his family are fans of. Hopefully in 12 months, he's still young, he will come back at 35 and some play until they are 40 years old.

"He's still got a few years and hopefully he will come and play for Cardiff. It wasn’t really about the money. Gareth wanted to help Cardiff and help Wales. 

"It wasn't really the money – that's why we could negotiate with him. He tried his best, but I think the offer from LAFC is too big to turn down."

Bale's signing boosts an LAFC side who already lead the Supporters' Shield race and have also secured Giorgio Chiellini ahead of the MLS transfer window opening next month.

The pair could therefore make their debuts in El Trafico against rivals LA Galaxy on July 8.

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