Gareth Bale will always cherish his briefer-than-expected spell at LAFC.
The Welsh superstar conveyed as much in a farewell video message LAFC shared in the wake of Monday’s surprise news that the 33-year-old forward has retired from professional soccer.
“I just want to say thank you for my welcome, being here in LA,” Bale said, swinging by LAFC’s training facility to offer goodbyes. “It’s been an amazing experience and to win the MLS Cup together and create lasting memories is something I’ll never forget. So thank you very much.”
Bale’s legacy will forever center around his goal in MLS Cup 2022, an equalizing header deep in extra time that sent his man-down squad to penalty kicks against the Philadelphia Union. It was a Hollywood-esque moment that Bale was signed last June to provide.
“There’s nothing even close to Gareth’s goal in terms of historical moments at LAFC,” co-president and general manager John Thorrington said earlier this week.
That was the highlight of his 13 games in Black & Gold, originally arriving last June after leaving Real Madrid. His two titles won (MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield) gave him 21 trophies across an illustrious 18-year career that also included stops at Premier League sides Southampton and Tottenham.
With Bale’s exit, LAFC now certainly have an open Designated Player spot to use – his summertime contract option would have bumped him into DP status alongside forwards Carlos Vela and Denis Bouanga.
Now, it’s nothing but well wishes as Wales’ all-time scorer and appearance leader enters his next chapter after featuring at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.