Nicolas Lodeiro bids farewell to Seattle Sounders: "A true club legend"

Nico Lodeiro - Sounders

A legendary era has officially ended, as Seattle Sounders FC confirmed Nicolas Lodeiro's departure on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Uruguayan's pending exit had been reported for several weeks and, after the 2023 season, discussed by the player himself. All that remained was Seattle making the news official via club channels.

After one of the most successful runs by a Designated Player in MLS history, an emotional Lodeiro offered one last farewell to Sounders fans.

"I want to say I tried to do my best every game, every minute that I played in front of you," he said. "Sometimes I was good, sometimes bad, but it's part of my sport. But trust me, I did all I can do for them. And I hope they can enjoy my time here.

"I don't want them to feel bad if they see me play in another club. It's part of my career. But I want them to know the Sounders will always be a part of my life."

Thinking back to his 2016 arrival from Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors, Lodeiro said his time in Rave Green exceeded his expectations both on and off the field.

Lodeiro's 191 appearances across eight seasons saw him become one of the league's premier assist-providers (80 in just over 16,000 minutes), while also stacking Seattle's trophy case with two MLS Cups (2016 and '19) and a historic Concacaf Champions League title in 2022 (first MLS club to win the modern version).

"In this moment, I wanted to write my history in a new country and a new club," Lodeiro said. "I thought this club would maybe make something special for me in the future and it was one of the best things.

"This club means something special for [my family], forever," he added. "They love the club. I received love from the people, friends, fans. They leave letters and our family is very emotional. In the end, we are happy because we did a great job and all people recognize us, my job.

"This is great, but when the people say something good about your family, they touch your heart. I work hard all my career, all my life to win the trophy, and for me now when I see them touching the trophy, take a photo, finally, it was very comfortable. Because they deserve this trophy like me or maybe more, my family and my wife. I feel peace. Internal peace in my heart. We did a good job. We did it like a family, like a team. We did a great job."

Without Lodeiro's contributions, head coach Brian Schmetzer said Seattle's remarkable run among the MLS elite probably doesn't happen. The do-everything No. 10 has long been lauded for his unselfish play and lung-busting work rate, often sporting the captain's armband.

"As a coach and a fan, it has been amazing to watch Nico Lodeiro play for Sounders FC," Schmetzer said. "Since his arrival in Seattle, all he has done is win, and along the way he helped set a new bar for success in this organization. He’s the type of player every coach would want on their team – he leads by example, holds himself to the highest of standards and delivered success in the biggest moments.

"His technical ability and work ethic are shining examples to the young players within the group. He’s a special player, an admirable family man and a true club legend. I wish him the best of luck in the next chapter of his career."

That sentiment was echoed by Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer, who said Lodeiro's legacy is everlasting. Now a free agent, Lodeiro could sign elsewhere in MLS or abroad.

"What Nico has accomplished in his time with this organization is nothing short of extraordinary," said Hanauer. "We knew we had something special in 2016 when he led the club to its first MLS Cup in his first few months in Seattle, but he continued to raise the bar.

"Lifting the 2019 MLS Cup and 2022 Concacaf Champions League trophies in front of our home fans would not have been possible without Nico. His passion, skill and tenacity on the field are all hallmarks of what it means to be a Sounder. ‘Once a Sounder, always a Sounder’ is something I’m extremely proud to say about Nico Lodeiro, and his family will always have a special place in our community.”