The Vancouver Whitecaps made another dramatic move during an already busy offseason on Wednesday, inking Chilean attacking midfielder and former La Liga pro Pedro Morales to a Designated Player contract just four days before the season opener.
Morales, 28, joins the Whitecaps on a free transfer from Spanish side Málaga, where he scored four goals in 22 appearances over the past two seasons. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Pedro is an exciting attacking player and we are thrilled to have him join our club,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. “He is a natural No. 10 who will bring a creative flare to our attack and is someone the supporters will enjoy watching.”
Fitness is not expected to be an issue for Morales, who was in mid-season form in Spain before making the move to MLS.
Prior to joining Málaga, Morales scored 26 goals in 87 league, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League appearances with Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. He also spent five seasons in Chile’s Primera División, scoring 31 goals in 133 league appearances with CD Huachipato and Club Universidad de Chile.
Morales has also scored three goals in 11 national-team appearances for Chile, but he’s not currently in the mix to make the World Cup roster this summer for La Roja.
Morales is the second Designated Player to join the Whitecaps roster in the past week, after Argentine midfielder Matías Laba was acquired via trade from Toronto on Feb. 26. Striker Kenny Miller will occupy the third spot until his contract expires in June, but the 34-year-old Scottish international said last week that he hopes to stay in Vancouver beyond this year.
The Whitecaps open the regular season at home against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in USA).