Gareth Bale has admitted he appears to have a talent for scoring in finals after becoming the first player to score in the Champions League and MLS Cup finals when he helped LAFC win their first Major League Soccer title on Saturday.
Bale scored the dramatic equalizer in the 128th minute of the thrilling final at the Bank of California Stadium in Los Angeles before LAFC went on to defeat Philadelphia Union 3-0 on penalties.
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The Welsh star’s goal was the latest in MLS history and tied the game 3-3 after LAFC went ahead twice before falling to 10 men in overtime and then four minutes behind in stoppage time.
It was Bale’s sixth goal in a major final. Three of them came in the Champions League finals – one against Atlético Madrid in 2014 and two, including a superb over kick, against Liverpool in 2018. He also scored the winning goal against Barcelona in the 2014 Copa del Rey final before scoring to help Real Madrid win. The FIFA Club World Cup Final in the same year.
“It’s always nice to score in finals and I seem to have a talent for that,” Bale said.
“It’s a big thing. It’s important for the club, it’s important for the fans. We’ve been reduced to 10 men and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get anything out of the game. So thanks to everyone to keep pushing, keep fighting and, like I said, it was good to get the goal and help the team. I’m not quite sure where he’s in first place, but that feels great.”
Bale joined LAFC on a free transfer after his eight-year spell with Real Madrid expired this summer.
But the fitness issues that have marred his final seasons in the Spanish capital have persisted since his arrival in Los Angeles, limiting him to just two appearances as LAFC won the Fans Shield.
When he came off the bench in the seventh minute of extra time on Saturday, it was Bale’s first qualifying appearance.
“It was a tough transition with no pre-season,” Bale admitted. “Trying to catch up, it was tough, obviously moving in with my family.
“But I tried to keep fit as much as I could, try to help the team as much as I could on and off the field, and it’s all worth it when you have moments like today. The most important thing is the goal to win the MLS Cup final and we were able to do that.”
The 33-year-old warned he was still 100 per cent unfit after taking a knock recently and admitted he was concerned about his condition just two weeks before he was due to lead Wales to their first World Cup since 1958.
“I feel better over time,” he said. “I think it was mentally difficult to get to the World Cup. You see how a lot of players drop out and now miss the World Cup.
“It’s definitely been in the back of my mind, trying to make sure I’m 100% fit.”
Wales’ first World Cup game, by chance, will come against the United States on November 21, and LAFC coach Steve Chirondulo, who has 87 caps for the United States, joked that he hopes Bale won’t have a similar impact against the United States. Americans.
“I’m sure he doesn’t,” Bell replied, “but I’ll try.”