After 121 games, and 59 goals, Diego Rossi’s tenure with LAFC has come to an end.
LAFC confirmed on Wednesday they have loaned the forward to Turkish club Fenerbahçe, effective immediately. No additional details were included from the club, but it’s being credibly reported that Rossi is a loan to purchase and Fenerbahçe are expected to pick up the purchase option in the winter. That does mean there’s a chance he could return to LAFC, but it seems considerably more remote than it did with the situation around Brian Rodriguez, for example.
“This is the first step in a long career in Europe for Diego,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a team statement. “We are forever grateful to Diego for the way he helped build this club both on and off the field from day one. To see him grow into a world class player who will perform in the Europa League with Fenerbahçe is exciting and shows that our vision of developing talent is working.”
Rossi, 23, joined LAFC from Uruguayan giant Peñarol ahead of the 2018 season, and memorably scored the first goal in club history, in a 1-0 road win over the Seattle Sounders.
But the memories didn’t end there, as Rossi’s strike rate of a goal every two games made him one of the best players in MLS and helped LAFC find success as well. In addition to reaching the playoffs in the team’s inaugural 2018 season, they reached the 2018 U.S. Open Cup semifinal (where Rossi finished second in scoring for that year’s tournament), won the 2019 Supporters’ Shield and reached the final of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League, LAFC’s first time playing in continental action.
Rossi exits LAFC second in scoring all-time at the club, only to Carlos Vela, but the Uruguayan certainly made it competitive, the duo packing a one-two punch together. He was the 2020 MLS Golden Boot winner, with 18 goals, and was the inaugural winner of the MLS Young Player of the Year award in 2020. A two-time MLS All-Star (2019, 2021), Rossi was an MLS Best XI selection in 2020 and selected to the 2020 CCL Team of the Tournament.
Obviously it will not be easy to replace Rossi, certainly not with a single player, and his consistent form, determination and goals mean LAFC will take a hit on the field with him gone. But it did feel like he was reaching the end of his growth here this year and he deserves a chance to step up and try and prove himself on the European stage as well. That means his departure is certainly bittersweet, but we knew that he was a player who was likely going to be sold on in the future and now it’s happened. Best of luck to Diego and we’ll certainly be watching from afar.
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