Anton Tinnerholm forged a reputation as one of the best right backs in the league. (USA TODAY Sports)
Right back Anton Tinnerholm is returning home.
The Swedish international has left New York City FC and has signed with Swedish side Malmo FF, the MLS club announced on Monday.
The Swedish international returns home after playing 119 games, starting in 111 matches, scoring nine goals and tallying 23 assists in five Major League Soccer season while helping the club win MLS Cup and Campeones Cup.
Tinnerholm, 31, forged a reputation as one of the best right backs in MLS.
“I want to thank everyone at the club for everything they have done for me,” he said in a statement. “The last five years have been amazing. I’ve been growing as a person, exploring a new culture, a new country, a new city and there have been so many moments to look back on. It’s been an amazing experience, but now is the time to let go and try something else. When I first came here it was just me and my wife, we were only two, and now with two kids, we leave as four.
“I remember I’d told everyone in the press: ‘I came here to write history’ and we brought the club its first MLS Cup. That’s something that will stick in my memory, even if I was injured at the time. It was cool to win a big title in another country and bring joy to the City of New York and our supporters.”
Tinnerholm had played with Malmo from 2014-17 before joining NYCFC.
He made an instant impact at both ends of the field, scoring four goals and registering six assists. Tinnerholm, a fan favorite, helped NYCFC reach the playoffs each season he was at the club.
“To the fans, it’s hard to describe in words but I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me and my family. They’ve been supporting me along the way from day one,” Tinnerholm added. “They’ve had our backs in tough moments, in good moments, especially during my injury. Their gifts and well wishes really showed that they were thinking about me, it really meant a lot for me to see they didn’t forget me, just because I’m injured. That’s something I will remember forever.”
Sporting director David Lee realized the team had lost a special player.
“Anton has been an incredible professional throughout his time here in New York and we have seen his tremendous growth both personally and professionally across the last five years,” he said in a statement. “He made an immediate impact both on the pitch with his fantastic performances and off the pitch with his leadership and infectious personality. He quickly became one of the best defenders in MLS and we would not have achieved the successes we have without his contributions. We are incredibly thankful for everything he has given to the club and understand his desire to return home and be closer to family.”