New York City FC signs Maxi Moralez from Leon as designated player

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The 29-year-old attacking midfielder takes on the designated player slot vacated by the retirement of Frank Lampard.

New York City FC has found its replacement for Frank Lampard.

NYCFC announced the signing of attacking midfielder Maximiliano Moralez from Club Leon on Wednesday, filling the designated player slot vacated by Lampard's offseason retirement.

RSL gets used to life after Morales

Acquired via a transfer, the 29-year-old has signed a three-year deal with Patrick Vieira's side.

"Maxi's a creative player who will add what we needed in the final third of the field with his ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates," NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a news release. "He is a versatile player who will be used behind the striker but can also play in wide areas in Patrick's system."

Vieira added: "Maxi is dynamic, he's direct and he's very good in one v. one situations. He can create chances and can score goals. He's a really creative player who can make an assist — he can create something from nothing and I believe that our fans will love him."

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Moralez, who joins David Villa and Andrea Pirlo as DPs on NYCFC's roster, seems poised to step in for Lampard in an attacking central midfield role.

Capped once by Argentina in 2011, Moralez spent 2016 with Leon after playing five seasons with Serie A side Atalanta. He also has played for Argentine clubs Racing and Velez Sarsfield, as well as FC Moscow in Russia.

"When I heard of the opportunity to go to NYCFC, I knew that it was a possibility that I couldn’t pass up," Moralez said. "I know that the league is growing a lot and we have a lot of great players — I'm looking forward to playing with players like David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, who are two world-class champions who have achieved a lot in their careers."

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