'I feel wanted' - Bale loving life at LAFC after Real Madrid exit

  • Left Madrid in June after nine years in Spain
  • Joined LAFC to get fit for World Cup
  • Only two starts, yet to play 90 minutes in MLS

WHAT HAPPENED? Gareth Bale has declared himself fitter and happier ahead of the World Cup with Wales, thanks to his summertime move to MLS club LAFC after nine years at Real Madrid. Despite a wonderful start to his time in Spain, by the end, he was subjected to harsh criticism from parts of the Blancos fan base.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's nice to be playing, nice to kind of just be in a place where I feel wanted and just enjoy myself now," the Welsh captain said, adding that he's working hard to arrive at this year's tournament in top physical form. "The plan is just to be 100 per cent to help LAFC first and foremost. Ultimately, that will lead into me being 100 per cent fit for the World Cup."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Bale put an end to his Real Madrid career over the summer, looking to get match-fit ready in time for the World Cup. The 33-year-old opted for LAFC, although he's played just 342 minutes in 11 appearances, only two of them starts. He has yet to play a full 90 minutes in MLS this season.

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DID YOU KNOW? Bale helped Wales qualify for their first World Cup since 1958, provoking an Andriy Yarmolenko own-goal for the match-winner in a 1-0 playoff final win over Ukraine. He called it "the greatest result in Welsh football history."

WHAT NEXT FOR BALE? The former Madrid and Tottenham standout will lead the Dragons as they take on Belgium and Poland in the UEFA Nations League this week and next.