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A legend departs: NYCFC transfer midfielder Maxi Moralez to Racing Club

Maxi Moralez to Racing


Midfield maestro Maxi Moralez has left New York City FC after six seasons to rejoin boyhood side Racing Club in his native Argentina, the club announced Friday.

The 35-year-old stands among the best No. 10s in MLS history, memorably helping NYCFC to their first-ever trophy when lifting MLS Cup 2021. He had 26 goals and 69 assists in 162 regular-season games with the Cityzens, joining ahead of the 2017 season as their fourth-ever Designated Player.

“My family and I have decided to return to Argentina, my country, after a very long time,” Moralez said in a 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 was named to the MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire in 2019, plus represented NYCFC at that year’s MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. He was also part of their Campeones Cup-winning group in 2022, scoring against Liga MX's Atlas.

NYCFC, when announcing their year-end roster moves in November, listed Moralez as having his contract option exercised for 2023. But now he exits to play for Racing, where his professional career began in 2005.

“Maxi has earned his place in the history of this club,” NYCFC sporting director David Lee said in a release. “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.”

The Rosario native departs as NYCFC’s all-time leader in assists and as the club’s top scorer in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The midfielder’s best season came in 2019 (seven goals and 20 assists), becoming just the third player in league history to post 20 assists in a single season. 

While Moralez didn’t wear the captain’s armband for NYCFC in recent seasons, his leadership impact was crucial as they’ve remained among MLS’s most successful clubs.

“I want to be remembered for the sacrifice and effort I always gave which characterizes me,” Moralez said. “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.

“Thank you to all the fans and everyone at the club. I will always remember you, I will always remember the best of times and all the moments we have shared together, which you take with you to the grave. I’m sure we will see each other again.” 

With Moralez departing, NYCFC will now search for a No. 10 who holds the keys to their attack. The 2023 season is their first full year under head coach Nick Cushing, having made the Eastern Conference Final last fall.

Racing Club were second in the 2022 Argentine Primera División table, finishing only behind continental powerhouse Boca Juniors. They're set to compete in the 2023 Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition.