Football

Gareth Bale Winning the Race to Be Fit for World Cup 2022

Gareth Bale
Oct 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Gareth Bale (11) warms up prior to the game against Austin FC during the conference finals for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA - Photo by Icon sport

Gareth Bale has been a big doubt for the Welsh World Cup squad due to a lack of fitness, but the former Real Madrid star is slowly winning his battle to be available at the showpiece event in Qatar on November 21.

Race to Become Fit

Gareth Bale
Oct 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Gareth Bale (11) warms up prior to the game against Austin FC during the conference finals for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

The 33-year-old made the switch to Los Angeles FC in the summer but he has enjoyed a nightmare time with regard to injuries since joining the MLS outfit. He has failed to complete even a single match of 90 minutes for the club and he has largely been making an impact from the bench. He has come in from the bench on 10 occasions and has returned just two goals, as time starts to catch up with the former Tottenham star. Bale was an instrumental part of Wales’ success at Euro 2016 but he has not been at his best since then.

It is very likely that Bale will be on the bench when LAFC name the squad for the upcoming MLS final against Philadelphia Union. This is after he has made a sizeable recovery from recent injury problems and he has been part of the full training sessions over the last few days. Ironically, the Welsh winger last played 90 minutes of action for the national team when he featured in Rob Page’s team in the 1-0 loss against Poland towards the end of September.

LAFC have certainly made Bale a surplus to requirements at this moment. He is unlikely to feature from the start against Philadelphia if he is 100% fit. Such has been the form of the front trio of Cristian Arango, Denis Bouanga, and Carlos Vela in the LAFC line-up.

Bale’s Fall from Grace

It was not long ago that the Welsh team were heavily dependent on Gareth Bale. Back in March, the winger was crucial in the qualification play-off semi-final match against Austria. The performance against Austria witnessed two goals from the winger as he went on to claim the man of the match award. He has been able to score just four goals in the 19 appearances for club and country since then.

In fact, the problems for Bale began even during his final years at Madrid. The numerous back and hamstring issues have taken the edge off his game in recent years. The former Southampton star only featured in five La Liga matches and two Champions League games in his final season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Despite the numerous injury problems and the lack of form, Bale’s move to the MLS has been met with a lot of fanfare. The 33-year-old has been able to set the record for the best-selling jersey in the MLS this season.

Even with all the criticism which has followed Bale over the last few years, he is always one of the first names on the team sheet provided that he is fit. Wales clearly value the fear factor that Bale brings into the line-up and it is unlikely to change going into the World Cup 2022.