By David Williams
Gareth Bale has debuted for his new Major League team, Los Angeles Football Club, as the side triumphed over Nashville Soccer Club 2-1.
Bale was unveiled by Los Angeles FC earlier in the month, having agreed to a one-year deal which will help his preparations for Wales’ World Cup finals appearance in Qatar.
He was brought on for the end of the game and impressed with his first touch at the club after only five minutes, pulling off a stunning backheel pass.
Bale, who turns 33 at the end of this week, earlier revealed he has longer-term ambitions with LA and sees no reason why he will not remain Stateside well beyond the terms of his current deal.
welcome to MLS, Gareth Bale pic.twitter.com/IQEfmEBjCi
— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) July 18, 2022
Bale said: “I haven’t come here just to be here for six or 12 months, I’ve come here to try to be here as long as possible.
“I want to try to leave my mark on this team, and being here gives me the best possible chance to make it to the Euros and maybe one more. I feel like I’m here to play a big part.”
Bale, 33, said after the game that the humidity was very difficult throughout the 20 minutes in which he participated, but added that even in the warmup it was hard to get used to the heat.
“The humidity was very difficult, even in the warmup,” Bale said. “It was something that I’m not used to. You don’t really get to see the heat on TV.”
Back at it today. Other than Giggs stepping down, @GarethBale11 to @LAFC, Joe Allen returning to @SwansOfficial, @CardiffCityFC signing new team & losing an Academy boss, @NewportCounty assembling avidly & @Wrexham_AFC looking upwards to strengthen – seems it’s been quiet!😉
— Rob Phillips (@robphillipshere) July 18, 2022
Regarding the league’s playstyle, Bale said he did not find it too different to other leagues but just has to get “used to the teams’ philosophies.”
“I wouldn’t say [the style of play] is different, it’s just getting used to the teams’ philosophies,” Bale said. “We’re working on it in training every day. I’m watching extra film on it in terms of before and after training with the coaches.
“It’s just trying to get up to speed as quick as I can and when I go on the field, do as much as I can to help the team.”
Bale went on to praise the MLS for improving its quality in the past five years — ever since he participated in the league’s 2017 All-Star Game with Real Madrid.
🏴 Happy birthday, Gareth Bale 🥳
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) July 16, 2022
In that match, Bale subbed on in the 61st minute and scored a penalty kick in a 4-2 shootout win for the Spaniards.
“Just watching, it’s improved massively from when I used to watch it in the past and when I’ve played maybe against an All-Star team,” Bale said. “The football is good. I enjoyed being out there.”
After Sunday’s win over Nashville SC, LAFC regained the top spot in MLS, and Bale is excited to get his debut out of the way to win silverware.
“I’m excited to get my debut out of the way,” Bale said. “I want to try and contribute as much as I can to this team, to try and win games and win trophies.”