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MF Maxi Moralez leaving NYCFC to return to native Argentina

Oct 23, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; New York City FC midfielder Maxi Moralez (10) signals his teammates against CF Montreal during the first half of the conference semifinals for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Midfielder Maxi Moralez is leaving New York City Football Club to join Racing Club in his native Argentina.

Despite his diminutive 5-foot-3, 115-pound stature, Moralez came up big for NYCFC during his six seasons with the club. During his tenure, NYCFC won an MLS Cup and Campeones Cup, and he was named an MLS All-Star, MLS Best XI and team Most Valuable Player.

“My family and I have decided to return Argentina, my country, after a very long time,” Moralez, 35, said in a team news release. “It was a very difficult and personal decision for me, one of the most difficult decisions in my career because of what we’ve accomplished together here. I am happy here, and from the first day the fans have made me feel like one of them. Those memories combined with this City, the best city in the world, has really made this decision extremely hard.”

Moralez previously played for Racing.

“Racing is where I started, they raised me, many years ago they gave me the opportunity to play professional football and be in the position I’m in today,” he said. “It was a dream of mine, of my children and my family, to see me play at Racing and I’d like for it to come true for them.”

Moralez will remain part of NYCFC’s lore, thanks, in part, to converting a penalty kick in the shootout as New York won its first title in franchise history over the Portland Timbers in December 2021. He also scored the game-winning goal in the 2022 Campeones Cup at Yankee Stadium.

He is NYCFC’s all-time leader in assists and in 2019, when he recorded seven goals and 20 assists, he became just the third player in MLS history to post at least 20 assists in a single season, per the club.

In 162 MLS matches (149 starts) with NYCFC, Moralez had 26 goals and 69 assists.

“I want to be remembered for the sacrifice and effort I always gave which characterizes me. At the end of the day, all the trophies and matches are forgotten, but being a good person and a good teammate is fundamental and that’s what I always tried to be,” he said.

Sporting director David Lee said he had achieved that.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to have been able to get to know and work with Maxi. No one can deny the significant impact he’s had these past six seasons, he’ll always have legendary status at the Club and amongst our fans as he has given us so many fantastic memories,” Lee said. “As well as his unbelievable skill, he has been a true professional since day one and a role model for our young players.

“Maxi has earned his place in the history of this Club. He will always be remembered in New York as an incredible player, whose presence and leadership were vital in us winning our first pieces of silverware. We understand it has always been Maxi’s dream to return to Argentina and know this has been an extremely difficult decision for him. He will be missed, but ultimately, we want what is best for him and his family.”

–Field Level Media