Charlotte FC have announced the departure of midfielder Sergio Ruiz to Spanish side Granada CF.
Ruiz was CLTFC's first-ever player signing in July 2020, playing on loan at Segunda Division outfit Las Palmas while awaiting the club's 2022 expansion year in MLS.
The 27-year-old Spanish midfielder went on to make 18 MLS appearances (seven starts), scoring once and providing two primary assists. Ruiz started to find regular opportunities more difficult to come by following the departure of head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez in May.
“It is a sad moment to be leaving Charlotte FC and this club and city will forever hold a special place in my heart. An offer was presented to me to return to Spain which is the best option for my family at this time in our lives,” Ruiz said in a statement.
“Playing at Bank of America Stadium in front of the amazing fans here in Charlotte was one of the most rewarding parts of my career. You welcomed me in from the day I signed and could truly feel the love and support you have shown me and the rest of the team.”
Ruiz's departure rounds off what has been a busy summer for Charlotte FC, who have signed the likes of Nuno Santos, Adilson Malanda, and Nathan Byrne, while allowing Christian Makoun and Titi Ortiz to leave the club.
“Sergio is a prime example of what it means to be a professional footballer in how he carries himself both on and off the pitch. It was a pleasure to have him represent Charlotte FC and it is a bittersweet moment to see him depart the club,” sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a club press release.
“A transfer away from Charlotte FC was in the best interest for his family and career, and we look forward to seeing him continue his professional journey back home in Spain. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank him for being an integral part of the club’s inaugural season and forever being a part of our history.”
Charlotte currently sit 11th in the Eastern Conference but are just a single point adrift of the top seven in what is an extremely tight Eastern Conference Playoff race. The Crown travel to overall leaders LAFC on Saturday.
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