LAFC-bound Carlos Vela expects emotional Real Sociedad farewell
Mexico international Carlos Vela will bid farewell to Real Sociedad on Wednesday ahead of his move to Los Angeles FC in January, and he admits the occasion will be emotional.
Vela joined the Basque club in 2011 and the league clash against Sevilla in the Anoeta will be his last for Real Sociedad before heading to LAFC.
"It's not yet really dawned on me that it's the last game and last days with la Real," Vela said in an interview with Real Sociedad TV. "I think it will be emotional with all the memories wrapped up in one game.
"It'll be nice, but at the same time complicated because to say bye is something that sticks with you and it'll be special."
Vela signed for Arsenal after a stand-out performance for Mexico at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup, but struggled to settle and bounced around on loan at Salamanca, Osasuna and West Bromwich Albion before landing at Real Sociedad.
"I realized it was the place to develop by sporting career and also my life to mature and learn," said 28-year-old Vela in the same interview.
The Cancun native said he's enjoyed his time in San Sebastian and now has a Basque son and girlfriend, although Vela added that it took time for him to win over locals. He's also proud of the way the club developed in the years since he joined.
"What I take away most is that when I signed I came to a team whose objective was to save ourselves [from relegation] and not suffer and now I'm leaving a club at which if we don't reach Europe it is a failure," Vela said. "I think that change that I've helped make is what makes leaving here special."
But while an emotional-looking Vela will likely be nostalgic, he's also excited about the next stage of his career in MLS.
"I've had the desire to try a new adventure for some time, to be nearer to my family, where my family can visit more often and I can go to my house more," he said. "It's always been interesting to see [in the United States] how they live and how they let others live; [as well as] their football philosophy and sports in general."
"It's a country I've always wanted to live in. I knew sooner or later I'd try to live and work there and it came at the right time, in the right city with a project I was waiting and hoping for."
Vela hasn't had his best season for Real Sociedad. He has only two starts so far this season and no goals. There's no guarantee coach Eusebio Sacristan will play Vela in the match, although Vela doesn't believe that what happend during Wednesday's game will change his legacy at the club.
"Hopefully I can bid farewell with a victory," Vela said. "But whatever happens can't change everything that has taken place over the last six years."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.