GARETH BALE looks to have made the wisest move of his career – and not just because of the 19 local golf courses in Los Angeles.
The Wales captain is heading for the golden state of California as he prepares his all-important countdown for the World Cup with MLS outfit LAFC.
Bale grinned when he had “loads” of options on the table before the play-off final win over Ukraine this month.
But when the forward, who turns 33 next month, weighed up America versus a return home to Cardiff and the prospect of getting booted in the Championship three times a week, there was only going to be one winner.
Ultimately, leading Wales in their first World Cup finals in 64 years is Bale’s driving force.
And what better place to prepare for arch-rivals England, Iran and, ironically, USA, in Group B than the glorious sunshine and lifestyle of LA.
Bale liked the quiet life in London and Madrid and he should be able to remain anonymous as a little-known ‘soccer star’ amid the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s showbiz world.
Fellow British star footballers David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have all lived the American dream and, despite varying footballing success, they spoke well of their overall experience.
That same appeal appears to have grabbed Bale as he prepares to sign an initial one-year contract with the Western Conference leaders.
The forward himself said on the Hat-trick podcast in 2020: “I really like the league. It’s grown so much over the years.
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“When we come over and play them in pre-season, the games are difficult, the standard is getting a lot better.
“The clubs are improving, the facilities are improving, the stadiums are improving.
“It’s a league that’s on the up and still rising. I think a lot more players want to come over to America now and play.
“I would definitely be interested in it.
“I love going to Los Angeles on holiday.”
An added bonus for the golf nut will be some of the most famous and best golf courses in the world.
Away from football, Bale compiled a bucket list with his mates during lockdown and revealed he had already played Pebble Beach, Riviera, Torrey Pines and Cypress Point.
On the field, the standard of the MLS may not be as high as the Premier League or LaLiga.
But Bale hinted earlier this month the level of opposition did not matter to him in his decision-making, because he will not lose his quality on the ball wherever he plays.
He admitted he went into this month’s World Cup play-off final well under-cooked.
As a result, he will bid to be in peak condition for November’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
But the terms of the contract could even be a nod to a possible extension to a career which most expected to end at the World Cup.
His deal is said to have the option of another 18 months.
And could this move even see the 106-cap forward prolong his career and be available for a third Euros finals appearance, should the Dragons qualify for Germany in 2024?
Bale was asked on Wales duty and he replied: “At this moment in time, I don’t know.
“It’s about seeing how I feel mentally and physically, whether I want to, whether I don’t want to. Time will tell.
“The good thing is I am in a great position in terms of my life and where I am at.
“I’m obviously not doing football for the money so whenever I feel it is right to call it a day, I will decide on my own terms.”
Source: The Sun