Antonio Carlos departs Orlando City for Brazilian giants Fluminense

  • Carlos joined Orlando on loan for 2020 season before his move was made permanent in 2021
  • He helped the Lions to their first-ever trophy in 2022
  • 30-year-old will suit up for his seventh Brazilian club
Antonio Carlos departs Orlando City
Antonio Carlos departs Orlando City / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian giants Fluminense has completed the transfer of veteran center-back Antonio Carlos from Orlando City.

Carlos originally joined the Lions on loan for the 2020 MLS season from fellow Serie A side Palmeiras, where he made 26 appearances and scored once before joining permanently ahead of the 2021 campaign.

After becoming a permanent Orlando City defender, the 30-year-old went on to make 80 appearances in three seasons, while adding three goals in the process. Carlos was vital to Orlando City's 2022 US Open Cup which saw them compete in the 2023 CONCACAF Champions League (now Champions Cup) for the first time ever.

Following their second place finish in the Eastern Conference table in the 2023 season, the Lions will now compete in the CCC for the second straight season thanks in part to Carlos' excellent defensive play.

With Carlos in the side, the Lions' defense was solid for the most part, especially in the last campaign where Orlando fell just short in the Conference semifinals to MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew.

He was part of the Orlando backline that conceded 25 goals in 2020 (the season was trimmed down that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic), 48 goals in 2021, 53 goals in 2022 and 39 goals in 2023 (tied for fourth-best in MLS).

"Antonio brought passion and fight every day, whether it was a Cup final or day of training and helped build our team into one of the most difficult to play against," Orlando executive vice president of soccer operations and general manager Luiz Mussi said in a release.

"We'll miss his energy and intensity, and thank him for everything that he has given to our Club and its fans. On behalf of the entire organization, we want to thank Antonio for his commitment to the Club and wish him the best of luck in this next opportunity."

In his four full seasons with the Lions at Exploria Stadium, Carlos totaled four goals and three assists as a defender in 106 appearances across all competitions.

Now, Carlos returns home to play for his seventh Brazilian Serie A club after making over 130 appearances with the likes of Oeste FC, Corinthians, Avai FC, Flamengo, Ponte Preta and the previously mentioned Palmeiras.

During his time in Brazil, Carlos won the 2018 Brazilian Championship with Palmeiras and the 2011/12 Copa Libertadores with Corinthians. He will now suit up for the current Libertadores champions in Fluminense after their 2-1 triumph over Boca Juniors last month.