Joao Moutinho bids farewell to Orlando City ahead of Spezia move

Chris Smith
Moutinho was a popular figure in Orlando.
Moutinho was a popular figure in Orlando. / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City defender Joao Moutinho appears to have confirmed his departure from the club in a farewell social media post.

The 24-year-old Portuguese left-back has been with the Lions since arriving from LAFC in 2019, going on to make 85 appearances for the club across all competitions and helping them lift the 2022 US Open Cup.

However, Moutinho's contract is due to expire at the end of December with rumors of a move to Italian Serie A side Spezia gathering pace. Spezia head coach Luca Gotti has even spoken about the transfer publicly.

“As far as I know, the deal is concluded,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “He played left-back in a four-man defense at Orlando City in recent years and did really well. I think he will need a little time to adapt to Serie A, but he has qualities that I like.”

Moutinho has now, at the very least, confirmed his upcoming departure from Exploria Stadium by bidding Orlando City supporters farewell on social media.

"Orlando, four years of my life that have gone by. Lots of up and downs, and some unforgettable moments along the way," Moutinho wrote on Instagram. "I felt like I belonged since day 1, and words will never be enough to express how grateful I am to the city, club, and country that took me in as one of their own all these years.

"Thank you to everyone that was involved and made this journey so rewarding. I leave with my head held high knowing that I always gave my best for the team. To all the fans, thank you for the incredible support, day in and day out. To 'The City Beautiful', you will always have a very special place in my heart. #VamosOrlando."

As Moutinho departs, Orlando City are preparing for their first-ever Concacaf Champions League campaign following their US Open Cup success, while they'll attempt to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023 for the fourth year running under Oscar Pareja.

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