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The Real deal – what pedigree will Gareth Bale bring to Los Angeles FC?

25 Jun 2022 5 minute read
Gareth Bale. Photo Simon Galloway PA Images

Tom White, PA

Gareth Bale will take his 200-plus career goals to the United States this summer after agreeing a deal to sign for Los Angeles FC.

As the Wales captain prepares to move to Major League Soccer, the PA news agency looks at his career goalscoring record.

In England

Appearances: 282

Goals: 77

Beginning his career with Southampton in the Championship, Bale earned a move to Premier League side Tottenham in 2007 and established himself as a world-class talent.

He scored five goals in 45 Saints appearances despite operating primarily as a left-back, the position in which he also began his Spurs career before moving forward to the wing and eventually into the forward line.

After notching only six goals in his first three seasons in north London, he hit double figures in the next two and then 26, including 21 in the Premier League, in a career-best 2012-13 campaign before leaving for Real Madrid with a record of 56 goals in 203 games for Tottenham.

He of course returned to Spurs on loan for the majority of the 2020-21 season, producing spells of his old form as he scored 11 league goals and 16 in 34 games in all competitions.

Picture by Дмитрий Журавель (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Real Madrid

Appearances: 258

Goals: 106

Firmly established as an elite attacking talent by the time of his move to Spain, Bale hit double figures in LaLiga in four of his first five seasons before falling out of favour.

He scored 22 for Real in 2013-14 – including six in the Champions League, his best ever return in Europe – while his 19 club goals in 2015-16 all came in the league.

His 21 in all competitions in 2017-18 represents that last time he passed 20 goals in a season, with just 11 league goals for Real after that point – and the same again during his temporary Spurs return.

He did reach 14 in all competitions in 2018-19, 14 including a Club World Cup hat-trick against Kashima Antlers, but just three and one in his final two Real seasons.

His 106 goals for the club featured three in Champions League finals, including a memorable brace against Liverpool in 2018.

Wales’ Gareth Bale (centre) celebrates with team-mates and staff after qualifying for the Qatar World Cup. Picture by David Davies


Appearances: 106

Goals: 39

Bale is his country’s captain, talisman and record goalscorer, passing Ian Rush’s previous Wales record of 28 with a hat-trick against China in March 2018.

He made his debut aged 16 in 2006 and was their youngest ever player at the time, a record since broken by Harry Wilson, and his longevity sees him trail only Chris Gunter’s 109 caps in the all-time list.

His first goal came against Slovakia as a 17-year-old and he has scored prolifically in qualifying campaigns for successive major tournaments, most notably Euro 2016 where he got seven in the preliminary campaign and three more at the finals – Wales’ first major tournament since 1958.

A hat-trick against Belarus and a play-off brace against Austria were instrumental in ending Wales’ 64-year wait for a World Cup appearance, even if he was not credited with the Andriy Yarmolenko own goal which ultimately saw them past Ukraine and into November’s tournament in Qatar.

The other stars from this side of the pond who have played in the MLS

David Beckham, LA Galaxy

England superstar Beckham ended four years at Real Madrid with a move to LA Galaxy, and went on to spend five years in the States. The 11-cap midfielder started to wind down his remarkable career in Los Angeles, but would then later enjoy short stints at both AC Milan and Paris St Germain to cap his trophy-laden time in boots.

Wayne Rooney, DC United

Ever-bullish England striker Rooney headed out to DC United in 2018, after a one-year return to first club Everton that followed a stellar stint at Manchester United. The one-time Toffees wonder kid passed 300 career goals in the US, hitting the net 23 times and laying on 15 assists in 48 regular-season contests. Rooney would head back to England to join Derby in 2020, a switch would ultimately lead to him managing the Rams.

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney during the Swansea match. Picture by Nigel French / PA

Steven Gerrard, LA Galaxy

Anfield stalwart Gerrard put an end to 17 years of first-team action at Liverpool when heading to California. Gerrard would only spend one year at Galaxy, before hanging up his boots in 2016. The 114-cap England star then took just one year out of the sport before taking up an academy coaching role at Liverpool, that would precede managerial roles at Rangers and Aston Villa.

Frank Lampard, New York City FC

England star Lampard had already spent a year away from Chelsea at Manchester City by the time he headed to the US. Lampard became Chelsea’s record goalscorer before enjoying an Indian summer campaign in the north west at City. But the free-scoring midfielder would add one more adventure before retirement. New York could not reach the play-offs in Lampard’s first season, before the ex-West Ham youngster then registered the club’s first hat-trick in his second campaign. New York did reach the play-offs in Lampard’s second campaign, but slipped to defeat in the semi-finals. Managerial stints at Derby, Chelsea and Everton have since followed.

Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC

England hitman Defoe sprung a surprise by trading Tottenham for Toronto aged just 31 in 2014. Defoe struck 11 goals in 19 games but the move quickly turned sour, and he was loaned back to Spurs, before making the switch to Sunderland. Productive stints at Bournemouth and Rangers followed, before Defoe finally ended a fine career back at Sunderland.

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Not My Real Name
Not My Real Name
2 years ago

Los Angeles is nothing to do with us. Couldn’t care less.
I just hope they can keep him uninjured and healthy til the finals

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 years ago

Lets face it, he’s had ONE good game for Wales in 6 years, since the Euros!

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 years ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Sorry but If you seriously believe that you must have only seen ONE Wales game in 6 years since the Euros!

Last edited 2 years ago by Leigh Richards
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
2 years ago

The down side is some USA internationals may benefit from Gareths’ presence in their midst and we have to see them off in a group game in the World Cup but the up side is we now have a spy in their camp reporting back to Rob Page.

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