Alvaro Fernandez with Chicago Fire
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Fire confirm six-month loan deal for midfielder Fernandez

After weeks of speculation surrounding the future of Chicago Fire midfielder Álvaro Fernández, the club announced on Friday that it has completed a deal to send the Uruguayan international to Qatar on a six-month loan.

Fernández, 27, joins Qatari side Al Rayyan and his former Montevideo Wanderers club coach Diego Aguirre, who first leaked the news of the loan earlier this month in an interview on Uruguayan radio.

“Flaco was interested in exploring options abroad in search of national team playing time and this situation allows him that opportunity,” Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon said in a statement. “We wish Flaco the best in Qatar and with Al Rayyan.”

Fernández joined the Fire in July in a trade with the Seattle Sounders for allocation money. He appeared in 13 games (12 starts) for Chicago after the trade and notched two goals and an assist, and started the team’s only postseason game.

He joined the Sounders as a Designated Player in July 2010, shortly after featuring prominently in Uruguay’s run to the semfinal of the World Cup. He scored nine goals in 29 appearances in Seattle in 2011, the best year of his MLS career to date, but he became expendable when the Sounders acquired German midfielder Christian Tiffert last July.