Who is Miguel Almiron? Get to know Atlanta United's young star

He’s Atlanta United’s showcase playmaker, an established Paraguayan international and one of world soccer’s rising young stars. But many MLS fans are still just getting to know Miguel Almiron as the soft-spoken Designated Player leads ATL UTD in their expansion campaign.

The 23-year-old has an intriguing story to tell, however, and in recent weeks he’s opened up about his road to MLS and the ambitious Atlanta project. FutbolMLS.com profiled Almiron in depth last month and at the season's inception, while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a Q&A with the creative midfielder last week.

“At the beginning it was very important that Tata Martino was the coach,” said Almiron as he explained the path that led him to pass on the interest from major European clubs and choose MLS instead. “Afterwards when I came, I came to see the club and saw that it was a serious club that had serious people working there, that they wanted to win important trophies, that motivates you more to come.”

The Paraguayan climbed the ranks in his native land before making a name in neighboring Argentina, where a former MLS star was one of the most influential figures in an earlier phase of his career: Columbus Crew SC legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who he credits for helping build his confidence and form at Club Lanus.

While he’s not ready to pronounce United as MLS Cup contenders just yet, Almiron sounds just as bullish on the future as everyone else at his new club.

“I don’t want to say Atlanta is a candidate to win MLS,” he said. “We work with humility and sacrifice, that is true. This team can battle with all the big teams. We’ll go step by step, game by game.

“As a team I believe we have a very good environment, the performances are good, we understand each other well, we have adapted, and we continue trying to do good things.”