A team executive from Veracruz told the Mexican media on Wednesday that the club has signed former Philadelphia Union striker Carlos Ruiz to a multi-year deal.
Ruiz, who returned to MLS this season after a two-year absence and starred for the Union before it was stunningly revealed last Friday night that the two sides would part ways, could begin training with his new club as early as Thursday.
“Since last week we’ve had an executive in Philadelphia working on a contract with ‘El Pescadito’ and MLS,” Veracruz executive José Armando Rodríguez told e-Consulta.com in Mexico. “As you already know, a couple of days ago he had an active contract with the MLS club, so it was necessary to come to an agreement with MLS and the US club, so that he could join los Tiburones [Veracruz].”
Ruiz was one of the Union’s strongest offensive threats this season, scoring six goals in 14 appearances before leaving the club. He returned to MLS during the preseason after he was gone for two years, when he bounced from Mexican clubs Olimpia and Puebla to Greek side Aris.
He spent seven seasons in MLS beginning in 2002, earning the MVP and the Golden Boot in his first year while leading the LA Galaxy to the MLS Cup. His 88 career regular-season goals are tied for eighth all-time in league history.
“It’s going to be a contract for two or three years approximately, it will depend on the coaching staff,” Rodríguez said. “We don’t have the financial information of the contract at this moment as the deal was closed a couple of hours ago. What I can say is that it’s a definite deal. The player is now part of los Tiburones.”
Union manager Peter Nowak revealed that Ruiz’s time with the Union was done during a press conference following the team’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids last Friday. Ruiz did not appear in the game.
“A lot of fans even in the stands have a pre-bias toward Carlos and make bad comments about him being a diver, being that, being that, not working hard, all these little things, and it was getting tired to us,” Nowak said. “I always believed fans in the stands will stand behind us and are going to cheer for us and all the players we have on the roster, and not having something against a single player. As I said, it’s an unfortunate thing.”
“It was a privilege to work with Carlos, and the guys in the locker room were disappointed when we came to this decision,” Nowak added. “As I said, it’s not finalized yet, but it’s going to be difficult to replace him.”