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Top 10 Big-Name MLS Imports Of All Time: New LAFC Signing Gareth Bale In At No.4

Gareth Bale has become the latest big-name player to leave European football to join the Major League Soccer revolution.

The 32-year-old Wales captain will become the most famous player ever to wear an LAFC jersey next month once he completes a free transfer move from Real Madrid.

But where does five-time UEFA Champions League winner Bale rank on a list of the most high-profile foreign players in MLS history?

Top 10 Big-Name MLS Imports Of All Time

MLS legends Thierry Henry and David Beckham pictured in 2011

Thierry Henry and David Beckham are two of the biggest names ever to play in MLS

10. David Villa

New York City FC, 2015

Spain international Villa arrived in the States as his country's all-time leading scorer - a record he still holds with 59 goals in 98 games.

The former Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid striker was a big hit in MLS too.

NYCFC's first ever player scored 77 goals in 117 MLS games.

9. Frank Lampard

New York City FC, 2015

Chelsea legend Lampard ended his illustrious career with 15 goals in 29 MLS games for NYCFC.

He is still Chelsea's all-time top scorer with 211 goals.

Lampard scored 177 Premier League goals between 1997 and 2015, placing him sixth on the competition's all-time list.

8. Andrea Pirlo

New York City FC, 2015

One of the coolest soccer players ever joined MLS in 2015 when Pirlo arrived in New York from Juventus.

Pirlo strutted into the States with six Serie A titles, two Champions Leagues and a FIFA World Cup medal to his name.

He made 60 MLS appearances before calling time on his illustrious career.

7. Didier Drogba

Montreal Impact, 2015

Two-time African Footballer of the Year Drogba moved to Montreal after his second spell at Chelsea.

Drogba scored 104 Premier League goals for Chelsea, firing them to four EPL titles.

But he is best remembered for his role in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final where he scored Chelsea's equalizer against Bayern Munich as well as the game-winning penalty in a shootout.

Drogba netted 21 goals in 33 games in his MLS career.

6. Kaka

Orlando City, 2014

Kaka became the third Ballon d'Or winner to play in MLS, after Hristo Stoichkov and Lothar Matthaus.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid playmaker added a touch of class to MLS in 75 appearances for Orlando before retiring.

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5. Wayne Rooney

D.C. United, 2018

Rooney is England's most-capped outfield player and his country's all-time leading scorer with 53 goals.

The former Everton and Manchester United star scored 23 goals in 48 MLS games.

But his most memorable moment for D.C. United was probably an assist for Luciano Acosta in a 3-2 win over Orlando in August 2018.

4. Gareth Bale

LAFC, 2022

Bale is heading to LAFC fresh from winning the UEFA Champions League for a fifth time.

He did not play a significant role in Real Madrid's most recent European triumph, but Bale scored in the 2014 and 2018 finals.

The only player in Champions League history to score more goals in finals than Bale (3) is Cristiano Ronaldo (4).

Gareth Bale pictured (right) celebrating a goal during Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final

Gareth Bale pictured (right) celebrating a goal during Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final

3. Thierry Henry

New York Red Bulls, 2010

Arsenal icon Thierry Henry is many fans' pick as the best player ever to play in the Premier League.

He arrived in England as a World Cup winner with France and became the poster boy of the Gunners team that won the EPL without losing a game all season in 2003/04.

Henry also led Arsenal to title glory in 2002. He scored at least 24 goals in five straight Premier League seasons between 2001/02 and 2005/06.

After leaving Arsenal, he won seven trophies in three seasons at Barcelona before scoring 51 goals in five years in New York.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

LA Galaxy, 2018

Though Ibrahimovic at his peak was arguably not as impressive as Henry and Bale at theirs, the Swedish striker is more than a footballer.

Ibrahimovic is box office. He is soccer's ultimate showman.

The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Manchester United star is also one of soccer's most evergreen stars, hence why he has just become a Serie A champion with AC Milan at the age of 40.

Ibrahimovic played 58 MLS games for Galaxy in 2018 and 2019, scoring 53 goals.

1. David Beckham

LA Galaxy, 2007

Beckham was one of the most famous soccer players on the planet in 2007 when he ended his four-year spell at Real Madrid to move to LA.

You did not need to follow sports to know David Beckham, husband of Spice Girl Victoria.

Though not the best player ever to come to the MLS, former England captain Beckham was undoubtably the most high-profile.

He did enjoy success on the field with Galaxy too, scoring 18 goals in 98 games and winning two MLS Cups.