Friday, June 9

Gareth Bale’s MLS debut for LAFC in Nashville was a big moment


The jersey reads “LA,” but Los Angeles isn’t where he’s from.

No, Gareth Bale is from the television.

Scoring goals and raising trophies in distant soccer scenes, playing for clubs like Real Madrid and Tottenham, living a young celebrity’s existence across the pond.

So on this sweltering summer night at Geodis Park, what is he doing here?

Answer: He’s banging on a door in a hallway in the visitor’s locker room. He’s peering in through glass and playfully distracting new teammate Georgio Chiellini’s postgame interview while awaiting his own. He’s smiling like he knows something you don’t. He’s clearly enjoying his LAFC debut – and a 2-1 victory over Nashville SC.

Los Angeles FC midfielder Gareth Bale (11) greets fans after defeating Nashville SC at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, July 17, 2022.

It’s funny. Surprising, too. The kind of thing an amused teenager might do after a high school game – because he hasn’t felt the media’s love and spotlight before.

Bale, he definitely has.

He’s probably the greatest player ever for his native Wales. From the moment he signed this summer, long before setting foot on Nashville’s field as a second-half substitute, he became the most well-known, most celebrated player in Major League Soccer.

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