Gareth Bale Almost Joined Cardiff City Before 2022 World Cup

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Hamish Woodward

Gareth Bale Almost Joined Cardiff City Before 2022 World Cup

Gareth Bale retired in 2023, going down as the greatest Welsh footballer to ever live. Leading his country to two Euros (including a semi-final appearance in 2016) and a World Cup, as well as smashing the scoring records for Wales, he will go down as a legend of the game.

However, with his new career as a golfer, he leaves one stone remained unturned in football. Gareth Bale never played for Cardiff City, the club he supported as a boy in the city he grew up in.

Gareth Bale grew up in a small town in Cardiff called Whitchurch, just short drive from Ninian Park. The stadium has now been demolished and replaced by a much less creatively named Cardiff City Stadium, but the feelings toward the Bluebirds remain the same.

The saddest part is that Gareth Bale almost did sign for Cardiff City, but the deal with the Bluebirds fell through and he chose to sign elsewhere.

Gareth Bale Almost Signed For Cardiff City

Cardiff City’s controversial owner Vincent Tan revealed all about his talks with Gareth Bale in the summer of 2022.

The former Wales captain’s Real Madrid contract expired in June 2022, making him a free agent for the first time in his career. Gareth Bale held talks with Cardiff City with a view of joining the Bluebirds and could have returned to his hometown for the firs time in his professional career.

Gareth Bale never played for Cardiff City as a youth player. The Bluebirds famously struggled keep players in the youth system, with players like Rabbi Matondo and Aaron Ramsey leaving the club as teenagers. Bale instead joined up with the Southampton Academy, renowned as one of the best in the country.

The Whitchurch-born winger soon made it into the first team at Southampton, debuting at age 16. He went on to move to Tottenham Hotspur before earning a world record move to Real Madrid.

Speaking with Wales Online, Vincent Tan said:

“We were very very keen, he would have been a big coup for us. It would have been great for Gareth Bale to play for his hometown, all the Welsh would be very happy if Gareth Bale returned home and played for Cardiff. Personally, I think LAFC’s offer was too attractive for him to turn down. But originally he really wanted to come, the money wasn’t the matter.

“We came up with what we thought was a good offer to him, but finally it was very hard to compete when there is a lot of big American advertisers, a lot of commercial deals which were very good for Gareth Bale. We tried our best but we failed. Initially with Gareth, it wasn’t really the money, he just wanted to help Cardiff and help Wales. That’s why we could negotiate with him. He tried his best to join us but eventually I think the offer from LAFC was just too big to turn down.”

Gareth Bale signed for Los Angeles FC instead of joining Cardiff City, and retired from footballing immediately after captaining Wales in the 2022 World Cup.

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