Álvaro Barreal: An Imminent Loss for FC Cincinnati

Barreal's Versatility Draws European Attention, Leaving a Gap in Cincinnati's Defenders

Philadelphia Union v FC Cincinnati: Eastern Semifinals - 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs
Philadelphia Union v FC Cincinnati: Eastern Semifinals - 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs / Jeff Dean/GettyImages
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Álvaro Barreal, a defender for FC Cincinnati, seems increasingly close to packing his bags for Europe. The club's general manager, Chris Albright, doesn't shy away from the possibility and, in an interview with MLSsoccer.com, stated that "the sky's the limit" for the player's destination, mentioning the potential to join the Argentine national team or venture into renowned leagues such as the Premier League or Bundesliga.

Barreal's recent trajectory at FC Cincinnati justifies the European interest. The player played a crucial role in winning the Supporters' Shield in 2023, in addition to being selected for the MLS All-Star. His impressive stats include 5 goals and 9 assists in 34 games. In the MLS statistical landscape, Barreal stands out as the seventh in key passes, while his expected assists (xA) of 9.22 are the fifth-highest in the entire league.

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Alvaro Barreal
Columbus Crew v FC Cincinnati: Eastern Conference Final - 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

What makes Barreal's possible departure even more notable is his transition in position since arriving in September 2020. Initially a winger from the Argentine Vélez Sarsfield, Barreal evolved to become a standout left-back. This versatility has not gone unnoticed in Europe, with clubs like RC Lens (Ligue 1) and Ajax (Eredivisie) expressing interest in recent transfer windows.

For FC Cincinnati, Barreal's imminent departure will signify not only the loss of an exceptional talent but also the need to fill a valuable gap in defense.