With the MLS season expected to remain dark until at least June because of the global coronavirus pandemic, LAFC coach Bob Bradley has more time on his hands than usual.
On Tuesday, the former Egypt, Swansea City and U.S. men’s national team boss used some of it to participate in Zoom conference with reporters. And naturally, he was asked to chime in on Barcelona’s reported attempt to lure LAFC captain Carlos Vela to the Nou Camp on loan early last year — a story that was back in the headlines last month after Vela spoke about it in the Mexican edition of GQ magazine.
The potential move, which initially came to light in January of 2019, never materialized. Vela went on to have an MLS season for the ages, leading Bradley’s second-year club to the highest regular season points total ever and scoring 34 times, shattering the league’s single season goals record.
In the interview with GQ, the El Tri star said that LAFC wouldn’t agree to a four-month loan to join Lionel Messi’s side. Barca ended up acquiring veteran Ghanian attacker Kevin-Prince Boateng instead.
“I wanted to accept the deal because it was going to be a good opportunity for my career,” the magazine quoted Vela as saying. “I talked to the bosses at LAFC to request my transfer, but they decided not to give it to me.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Bradley appeared to question the accuracy of the report. “I’m not sure about the article in GQ. I respect that Carlos talked about it in those ways,” Bradley said.
Vela, who had previous spells in Spain with La Liga clubs Celta Vigo, Osasuna and Real Sociedad, has consistently said how happy he is in Southern California. If Vela was disappointed that he wasn’t able to suit up for one of the game’s preeminent teams, it sure didn’t show on the field.
“From the beginning, Carlos has been completely committed to what goes on at LAFC, Bradley said. “I know that before we started last season [the potential loan to Barcelona] was mentioned a little bit and there were discussions with [LAFC general manager] John Thorrington and Carlos’ agent. But there’s never been a question about how excited Carlos is to be in Los Angeles and play for LAFC.
“Last year, as captain of our team, he took new responsibility and obviously had a season that is up there with the best of all time,” Bradley added. “Even when the article came out in GQ, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It was a little blip on the radar screen.”
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