Oguchi Onyewu is officially headed to Portugal. Sporting Clube de Portugal announced on their website on Tuesday that they have signed the 29-year-old center back to a three-year contract.
The move brings an end to Gooch’s tumultuous two years while under contract with AC Milan. Onyewu never cracked the Rossoneri lineup after moving to Milan following the 2009 Confederations Cup, and a knee injury he suffered during 2010 World Cup qualifying set him back further. He spent the past six months on loan at Dutch side FC Twente, making 14 appearances for the Eredivisie club.
MLSsoccer.com has learned that Milan have allowed Onyewu to depart on a free transfer to join Sporting. The Lisbon-based outfit becomes the defender’s seventh top-flight club in six countries over his nine-year professional career.
Onyewu joins the 18-time Portuguese champions as they set to embark on a 2011-12 season that will see them compete in the Europa League thanks to their third-place finish in the Portuguese Liga last season. He’ll be competing in a center-back pool that has two starters firmly entrenched: captain Daniel Carriço and vice-captain Ânderson Polga.
“I have come to Sporting to win,” Onyewu told the club’s official publication, O Jornal Sporting.
The two-time World Cup veteran was a member of the US national team squad that advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Mexico. The central defender did not see time during the tournament, last playing the first half of a 4-0 friendly loss to Spain before the Gold Cup kicked off.
Onyewu could see his first action for his new club on North American soil as Sporting announced this week that they will play Italian giants Juventus as part of this summer's Herbalife World Football Challenge. The match is scheduled for July 23 at BMO Field in Toronto.