Patrick Vieira (left) and Claudio Reyna are expecting some big things out of Maximiliano Moralez. (Andy Mead/YC Photos)
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
Argentine midfielder Maximiliano Moralez became the youngest Designated Player in the short history of New York City FC Wednesday.
Moralez, who turns 30 on Feb. 27, signed a three-year deal with the Major League Soccer team after a transfer from Leon in Mexico. He joins World Cup champions David Villa, 35, and Andrea Pirlo, 37 on the squad, which will enter its third MLS season. Frank Lampard, 38, was the other DP.
The club is awaiting receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
“Maxi is dynamic, he’s direct and he’s very good in 1 v 1 situations,” City head coach Patrick Vieira said. “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.”
A native of Granadero Baigorria, Argentina, Moralez also has played for Racing and Velez Sarsfield inin his native country, FC Moscow (Russia) and Atalanta (Italy).
“When I heard of the opportunity to go to NYC FC, I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” he said.
“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.
“Also, to have a quality coach like Patrick Vieira, who has been one of the best in his position, recognized worldwide, is something that will help me immensely. With the experiences he’s had in his career, it will be very important to help make this club great.”
Known for his speed, Moralez enjoyed some memorable moments with Velez Sarsfield, scoring the winning goal in against Huracan on the final day of the 2010 season to clinch the Argentine championship.
“Maxi’s a creative player who will add what we needed in the final third of the field with his ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates,” NYC FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said. “He’s extremely motivated and determined to do well and is excited for the challenge of playing for New York City FC.
Reyna added that Moralez was “a versatile player who will be used behind the striker but can also play in wide areas in Patrick’s system.”
“Maxi is an experienced player in the prime of his career and will be a positive influence for our younger players,” he said.