Gareth Bale boldly targets 2026 World Cup at LAFC unveiling

‘I’ve come here for as long as possible… it’s NOT a short-term thing’: Gareth Bale insists he won’t be retiring after this year’s World Cup at his LAFC unveiling… as Welsh superstar reveals plans to play on until at least 2024

  • Gareth Bale is targeting the 2024 Euros and the 2026 World Cup with Wales
  • Speaking at his LAFC unveiling, Bale believes MLS gives him the best chance
  • He flatly denied suggestions that MLS is a ‘retirement league’ for top players 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

Gareth Bale dismissed claims he had come to a ‘retirement league’ at his US unveiling – and vowed to star for Wales at the 2024 Euros and beyond.

The 32-year-old signed a one-year deal with MLS’s LAFC after a glittering nine years at Real Madrid.

Some have questioned the move, given interest from the Premier League, hometown club Cardiff and other, more established competitions.

But Bale denied he had crossed the Atlantic for an easy life.

Gareth Bale is hoping to play for Wales through until the 2026 World Cup, he has revealed

The 32-year-old is convinced his move to LAFC in MLS gives him the best chance to do so 

Many predict 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be it for Bale and Wales but he has rubbished that

‘This is a league that has come a long way in last 10 years,’ he told dozens of assembled media and a section of cheering fans in a field-level suite at the swish Banc of California Stadium.

‘I don’t think anyone sees it as a retirement league anymore. The weather is difficult, the travel is difficult.’

Bale, who turns 33 on Saturday, added: ‘The standard here is increasing. It’s a lot better than people in Europe think. Everything is improving – it’s a league on the rise.’

Bale, who has the option to extend his deal for 18 months, is set to star for Wales at this winter’s World Cup. 

But he added that he is hoping to represent his country at another major tournament.

Speaking at his press conference on Monday, Bale explained how he wants to make his mark

Fans gatecrashed the stage at the end of the press conference to pose for photos with Bale

‘I haven’t come here for six to 12 months, I’ve come here for as long as possible,’ he said. 

‘I want to make my mark on the league. It’s not a short-term thing. It gives me an opportunity to keep going to the next Euros – maybe further.

‘Being here gives me the best chance to make it to Euros and you never know, maybe one more.’

Former Tottenham man Bale, who won 19 trophies in Spain, was at his new club’s 3-2 victory over rivals LA Galaxy on Friday and hailed the atmosphere.

‘It was one of my most exciting nights at a football game,’ he said. 

‘This is an amazing environment – everything you see is incredible. Hopefully now I can play my part and take this club to the next level.’

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