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Santiago Rodríguez returns to Montevideo City Torque

The attacking midfielder who was instrumental to NYCFC’s 2022 season is being linked to Esporte Clube Bahia.

Santi knows how to win | Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy

It looks like Santiago Rodríguez has returned to Montevideo City Torque.

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder’s loan to New York City FC ended on December 31, 2022, and while neither NYCFCF nor Montevideo City have issued an official statement regarding his status at New York City, Montevideo City players were expected to report to training on January 4, 2023. Then last night, the official Twitter account of the club posted a picture of wearing Montevideo City’s training kit and the caption “Hola Santi.”

Seemingly, the engine of NYCFC’s midfield in 2022 is now back in Uruguay.

The lack of acknowledgment from New York City is notable, and perplexing. NYCFC have lost four key starters this offseason, and celebrated each one with tributes and praise: Maxi Moralez, Nicolás AcevedoHéber, and Anton Tinnerholm have all been thanked and congratulated. 

But the club has remained silent in regards to Rodríguez. 

Earlier today, respected journalist César Luis Merlo tweeted that Rodríguez is close to finalizing a deal with Esporte Clube Bahia in Brazil. He reports that it will be a one-year loan with an option to buy.

NYCFC, Montevideo City, and Bahia are all owned by City Football Group

Rodríguez’s departure further depletes a New York City squad that has been hollowed out since the end of the 2022 season. NYCFC signed Rodríguez in June of 2021 and he made an immediate impact, appearing in 21 games and logging 985 minutes. He played a vital role in the squad that lifted the 2021 MLS Cup, starting in all four MLS Cup Playoff games and scoring just 11 minutes into the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the heavily favored New England Revolution. In 2022 Rodríguez became an essential fixture on the field, starting 32 games including the MLS Cup Playoffs and logging 2731 minutes. The midfielder scored four goals and led the team with 13 assists.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available.