How much will Gareth Bale earn at LAFC?
The Wales forward is close to joining LAFC as a free agent after his Real Madrid contract expires as he seeks to arrive at the World Cup in peak form.
Gareth Bale is reportedly on the verge of agreeing a deal to join MLS side LAFC, with the Wales forward set to become a free agent on 30 June when his contract with Real Madrid expires. Bale, 32, spent eight seasons at the Bernabéu (excluding a loan back to his former club Spurs in the 2020-21 campaign) and won five Champions Leagues, three LaLiga titles and a Copa del Rey but fell out of favour later in his Madrid career and is now seeking a short-term deal to maintain his fitness ahead of the World Cup. The Wales captain had been linked with a move to his hometown club Cardiff City in the Championship but is now expected to put to pen to paper on a one-year deal at the Banc of California Stadium.
Bale scored 114 goals for Madrid, including memorable strikes to seal the 2013-14 Copa and the 2017-18 Champions League, but only made seven appearances in his final season at the Bernabéu, which was hampered by injuries and the emergence of younger players including Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Fede Valverde.
Shaqiri, Insigne MLS’ highest earners
Despite a bit-part role during his final season at Madrid, Bale remained one of the club’s highest earners on a reported salary of over €20m before tax (a reduction on his previous wage of closer to €30m) but still a vast amount more than the current highest-earner in MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri, who pockets just over €8m. Chicharito Hernández was the previous top earner in MLS before the Swiss international signed for Chicago Fire, earning around €9m per season.
Lorenzo Insigne is set to become the new highest earner in MLS after joining Toronto FC from Napoli, on a reported salary of €12m. However, the North American league is desperately trying to trim wage bills having been severely affected by a drop in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to salary cuts of almost 50% for players in the league.
Bale to earn a similar wage to Chiellini
MLS also operates a strict salary cap system and LAFC have already signed former Italy international Giorgio Chiellini, although the Juventus legend will play on a Targeted Allocation Money contract, meaning he will earn less than $2 million for the 2022-23 season. As Bale will not be a designated player, he can probably expect a similar arrangement financially, but that is unlikely to be the Welshman’s main priority as he seeks to keep fit and play competitive football ahead of his country’s first appearance at the World Cup since 1958.