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What shirt number will Gareth Bale wear at LAFC?

Gareth Bale, who is poised to join Los Angeles FC, has worn the No. 11 shirt for much of his career. However, it’s already taken.

Gareth Bale, who is poised to join Los Angeles FC, has worn the No. 11 shirt for much of his career. However, it’s already taken.
DeFodi ImagesGetty

Los Angeles FC, who are set to sign Gareth Bale on a free transfer, can expect to sell a boatload of shirts bearing the Wales captain’s name and number. Exactly what number the forward will wear at Banc of California Stadium will remain a mystery until he completes his move to the MLS franchise, however.

What is Bale’s shirt-number history?

Bale wore 11 for all but one of his eight seasons at Real Madrid, a club he joined from Tottenham Hotspur for a then-world-record 100m euros in 2013. The only year he sported a different number was last term: having had the No. 11 jersey pinched by Marco Asensio while he was away on a season-long loan spell back at Spurs in 2020/21, Bale was forced to switch to 18.

In his first stint at Spurs, meanwhile, he wore 16 in the 2007/08 season, before changing to the number 3 shirt; he was, after all, chiefly a left-back at that stage of his career. Having then developed into a rampaging, goal-scoring winger, Bale took the No. 11 shirt in his final season before leaving North London for the Spanish capital. When he returned on loan seven years later, he was given the No. 9 jersey. At first club Southampton, Bale wore 37 in 2005/06 and 22 in 2006/07.

With Wales, Bale started out at 3 in the years immediately after his international debut in 2006, but has now been the Dragons’ No. 11 for over a decade.

All except one already taken at LAFC

Unfortunately, unless someone in the LAFC roster is willing to swap, Bale’s shirt-number history looks like providing little indication as to the jersey he’ll wear in Los Angeles. Other than the No. 37 he briefly played in as a teenager at Southampton 16 years ago, all of his previous numbers are taken - most notably 11, the shirt that has proved his predominant choice throughout his career. It’s currently in the possession of Ecuadorian midfielder José Cifuentes.

The lowest available numbers in the LAFC roster are 1 and 13, which both tend to be taken by goalkeepers. After that, the first option at Bale’s disposal is 20. Curiously, LAFC’s Wikipedia page listed the forward as the Black and Gold’s new No. 20 as of Sunday morning ET, but this allocation appears to be purely speculative.

LAFC roster - current numbers:

2Franco EscobarDefender
3Jesús David MurilloDefender
4Eddie SeguraDefender
5Mamadou FallDefender
6Ilie SánchezMidfielder
7Latif BlessingMidfielder
8Francisco GinellaMidfielder
9Cristiano ArangoForward
10Carlos VelaForward
11José CifuentesMidfielder
12Diego PalaciosDefender
14Giorgio ChielliniDefender
15Mohamed TraoreDefender
16Maxime CrépeauGoalkeeper
17Brian RodríguezForward
18Erik DueñasDefender
19Ismael Tajouri-ShradiForward
21Christian TorresForward
22Kwadwo OpokuForward
23Kellyn AcostaMidfielder
24Ryan HollingsheadDefender
25Sebastien IbeaghaDefender
26Cal JenningsForward
28Tory LeoneGoalkeeper
29Danny MusovskiForward
30Tomas RomeroGoalkeeper
44Doneil HenryDefender
77John McCarthyGoalkeeper
80Julian GainesDefender

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