During his difficult final years at Real Madrid, Gareth Bale only found true happiness on a football pitch when he joined Wales for matches with their national team.
Now, after moving to the United States, he feels the love at the club level as well.
Bale joined Los Angeles FC in July after his contract with Madrid expired and has been playing regularly for one of Major League Soccer’s top teams, though mostly as a substitute as he improves his fitness after barely getting time off. game in his last season in Spain. .
Bale’s ultimate goal is to be in peak condition by November 21, when Wales play the United States in their first World Cup group match in Qatar. It marks the first World Cup for the Welsh since 1958 and, according to Bale, the pinnacle of a career that has seen him win Champions League titles in Madrid as the world’s most expensive player.
Ultimately, Bale decided to move to Los Angeles to make the most of the final years of his career, for his club team and his national team, and he believes he made the right decision.
“I can’t ask for more,” Bale said at the Wales training base on Wednesday, when asked how he settled in California. “They made me feel at home right away. I’m getting good vibes from my team in MLS and I hope that gives me more confidence playing for Wales.”
Bale was all smiles, as usual, as he joined the Wales squad on Tuesday after flying in from Los Angeles, where his family has moved and he feels settled.
Also significant is the fact that Bale feels fitter and smarter than he has in a long time. He is following a personalized fitness program, gradually loading up on his training, and has started two of the last six LAFC games after coming off the bench in the first five.
Bale has yet to complete 90 minutes for his new team, but that is more likely to happen when LAFC enters the playoffs, which he will enter as the leading team in the Western Conference.
“Any player will tell you, playing matches and being completely fit, fit for the match, is the most important thing and it makes you feel better, more agile on the pitch,” Bale said. “In recent years, I had to come (to camp in Wales) and find something and dig in and find my fitness.
“Obviously I’ve played more games, more training, before these games and it’s more ideal to play as much as you can so you can perform better for Wales.”
Wales manager Rob Page is unsure how much he will use Bale for the upcoming Nations League group stage matches against Belgium and Poland, insisting the main thing is to keep his star player in the squad. best possible way ahead of the World Cup.
Page is in no doubt that moving to Los Angeles has energized Bale.
“It’s oozing out of him, isn’t it?” the page said. “You can see that it has been the right move for him and his family. Whether it’s the lifestyle, the training, you see the welcome he got from the (LAFC) players. You speak of this environment (in Wales); It seems that he also has it in the locker room in Los Angeles.
“We’ve had him in camp before and he’s been great for us and won us games without playing any minutes at club level. Any minute we can get out of it is a bonus. I’m happy, it’s the best result for me”.
Bale said the Wales-USA match on November 21 is a regular topic of conversation in the LAFC locker room.
“We have a little bit of banter, with some of the players and the coaching staff,” he said. “It’s something we joke about from time to time.
“Ultimately, we know that when the crunch time comes, it’s going to be a tough game for both teams and one that we all look forward to.”
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