LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles FC has reached an agreement with Welsh forward Gareth Bale, who will go to the Major League Soccer team after his departure from Real Madrid, a person familiar with the transaction told The Associated Press.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity on Saturday because the player and the team, which leads MLS, are still finalizing the details of the 12-month contract. LAFC signed Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini this month.
Bale, 32, will move to the United States after spending most of the last nine years at Madrid. His contract expires in the next few months and he will be released after his checkered time in the last Champions League winner.
Bale is one of the most dynamic strikers of his generation when healthy. He scored 106 goals in 258 games for Real Madrid, won five Champions Leagues and three Leagues.
But in recent years he has played sporadically and at times ineffectively. He played only seven games last season and suffered a series of injuries.
In the 202-21 season he played on loan at Tottenham, where he scored 16 goals in 34 games. His transfer from Spurs to Madrid in 2013 was for a record fee at the time.
Bale will have a fresh start in the Southern California sun alongside Chiellini, who moved to LAFC after 17 seasons with the Youth and an impressive career with the Italian national team.
There were rumors that Bale planned to retire if Wales did not qualify for the World Cup, but the team did secure a place in Qatar last month. Bale will be able to compete for a trophy in Los Angeles while he remains in good condition for the rigors of the World Cup.
The MLS regular season ends on October 9, and the MLS Cup final is played on November 5, just two weeks before the start of the World Cup.
Bale and Chiellini could make their debuts once the secondary transfer window opens on July 7. LAFC hosts its archrival Galaxy the next day.