Ex-Columbus Crew defender Milton Valenzuela joins FC Lugano

Former Columbus Crew left back Milton Valenzuela has signed with FC Lugano through June 2025, the Swiss Super League side announced Sunday.

Valenzuela, 23, had one goal and nine assists in 63 games (58 starts) across four seasons with Columbus.

The Argentine youth international originally joined Columbus ahead of the 2018 campaign on loan as a Young Designated Player from Newell’s Old Boys in his home country.

Valenzuela missed Columbus’ entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, then battled injuries last year as well. But he started MLS Cup 2020 and subbed on for Campeones Cup 2021, helping bring two trophies to the Crew.

With Valenzuela departing, Columbus could turn to Pedro Santos as their starting left back in 2022. The Portuguese veteran, who also plays winger, featured there last year in Valenzuela’s stead.

As of the transfer, FC Lugano are fourth in Switzerland’s top-flight and challenging for a Europa Conference League spot. They're owned by Chicago Fire FC's Joe Mansueto and feature MLS alums Reto Ziegler (FC Dallas) and Ignacio Aliseda (transfer from Chicago).

Columbus begin their 2022 campaign Feb. 26 when hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC.