Gareth Bale has insisted he could play on until beyond the next European Championship in 2024 and intends to carry on his trophy-winning habit in MLS after joining LAFC.
The Wales forward, who is 33 this week, has signed an initial 12-month contract with an option for an extra year after leaving Real Madrid last month having won a staggering 19 trophies there. Bale trained with his new teammates for the first time on Monday and admitted that he has been eager to get started as he prepares to lead Wales to their first World Cup finals since 1958 in November.
But he was also adamant that his move to LAFC – who are currently top of the Western Conference in MLS – was not the beginning of the end of his career. “I still have many years to come,” said Bale. “I want to give myself the best opportunity to go to the next Euros or maybe even further.
“I want to make my mark on this league and I think by being here it gives me the best chance of going to the Euros and you never know maybe one more. My plan is to really work hard – it’s a very physical league but I’m really looking forward to getting up to speed and getting started.”
Bale’s arrival is widely regarded as the biggest signing in the five-year history of LAFC, who unveiled Italy World Cup winner Giorgio Chiellini last week and also boast former Arsenal forward Carlos Vela in their ranks. The Welshman attended their victory over local rivals LA Galaxy on Friday night in the derby known locally as ‘El Trafico’ and admitted he had been impressed by the atmosphere created by the home supporters.
Bale said that he has been a regular visitor to the United States during his career and has been watching MLS “for a long time”. “I’m excited to start playing again – when I’m happy I play my best football,” he said. “The standard here is increasing and I think it’s better than most people in Europe give it credit for. Hopefully I can play my part and take this club to the next level.”