What had been rumored is now official as New York City FC has signed Maximiliano Moralez as the team’s third Designated Player.
Moralez began his career with 17-time Argentine Champions Racing after advancing through the youth ranks in Buenos Aires. He spent three seasons on the first-team roster before half a season at FC Moscow.
Racing opted to take him back on loan and he made a key contribution in 2007/08, scoring the decisive goal against Belgrano to steer his boyhood club away from relegation. The following year, Moralez joined Velez Sarsfield and scored the winning goal against Huracan on the final day of the season to clinch the Argentine title.
The Granadero Baigorria-born midfielder joined Italian Serie A outfit Atalanta in 2011 where he spent four years, appearing in 109 games, netting 16 goals and assisting 17 more. Newly-promoted upon Maxi’s arrival, during his time in Italy, Atalanta managed to consolidate their position in the league and racked up a club record points tally in his first season there.
He joined Club Leon in 2015 and featured on 25 occasions, helping the team to an eighth-place finish in 2016.
At international level, Moralez was a teammate of Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria in Argentina’s U20 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, earning the Silver Ball and the Bronze Shoe awards thanks to his four goals, including one in the semifinal. He went on to win his first senior international cap with Argentina in a 4-1 friendly win over Venezuela in March 2011.
“When I heard of the opportunity to go to NYCFC, I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” he told NYCFC.com. “I know that the league is growing a lot and we have a lot of great players – I’m looking forward to playing with players like David Villa and Andrea Pirlo who are two world-class champions who have achieved a lot in their careers.
Head coach Patrick Vieira touted Moralez’s experience in playing in leagues such as Serie A and Mexico as beneficial to NYCFC.
“He’s demonstrated his desire to come to the football club and to do well, so I’m really happy that he’s decided to join us,” he said. “Maxi is dynamic, he’s direct and he’s very good in one-v-one situations. He can create chances and can score goals. He’s a really creative player who can make an assist – he can create something from nothing and I believe that our fans will love him.”