Gareth Bale makes his LAFC debut and starts with cheeky backheel

Gareth Bale makes a big impression on his LAFC debut with cheeky backheel for one of his first touches… and he admits ‘it felt amazing’ to be playing in MLS after his new side beat Nashville to stay top of the Western Conference

  • Bale, 33, came of the bench in the 72nd-minute of LAFC’s 2-1 win over Nashville
  • He immediately showed his class with a flick to set a team-mate into space
  • Wales star said he was ‘itching’ to get off the subs bench and into the action
  • Bale has signed a one-year contract with MLS club after leaving Real Madrid

Gareth Bale has made his debut for Major League Soccer side Los Angeles FC – and his first involvement in their colours was certainly eye-catching.

The Welsh star, who left Real Madrid earlier in the summer to move Stateside, produced a backheel flick with one of his first touches after being brought on.

Bale, 33, was introduced with 18 minutes of LAFC’s 2-1 victory over Nashville at Geodis Park and sprung one of his team-mates into space with the elegant flick.

Gareth Bale came off the bench to make his debut for Los Angeles FC away to Nashville

The win kept LAFC top of the MLS Western Conference, a point clear of Austin with a game in hand, as they bid to reach the Play-offs.

Veteran Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini also made his first appearance for the club. 

‘It felt amazing. I was itching from the first half. As soon as I was on the bench, I wanted to get off, help the team and play some minutes,’ Bale said.

‘It’s important for me individually that I get my fitness going because it’s obviously the end of the season in Europe. So it’s good to get some minutes. We got the three points, so we’re happy.

‘I’m excited to get the season going for myself and help the team as much as possible.’

Bale was presented as a Los Angeles FC player last week after signing a one-year contract 

The 32-year-old is convinced his move to LAFC in MLS gives him the best chance to do so 

At his unveiling last week, Bale dismissed claims he’d crossed the Atlantic to join a ‘retirement league’ having been linked with hometown club Cardiff City in the Championship.

Bale signed a one-year contract with LAFC – with the option to extend that to 18 months – as he tries to keep up his form ahead of the World Cup with Wales in November.

‘This is a league that has come a long way in last 10 years,’ he said.

‘I don’t think anyone sees it as a retirement league anymore. The weather is difficult, the travel is difficult.

Many predicted the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be Bale’s last act in professional football

Fans gatecrashed the stage at the end of the press conference to pose for photos with Bale

‘The standard here is increasing. It’s a lot better than people in Europe think. Everything is improving – it’s a league on the rise.’

‘I haven’t come here for six to 12 months, I’ve come here for as long as possible.

‘I want to make my mark on the league. It’s not a short-term thing. It gives me an opportunity to keep going to the next Euros – maybe further.

‘Being here gives me the best chance to make it to Euros and you never know, maybe one more.’

LAFC are next in action away to Sporting Kansas City next Sunday.

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