It’s been a long, globe-spanning road for Maxi Moralez to reach New York City.
Our new Designated Player has played the game in Argentina, Russia, Italy and Mexico before descending upon Major League Soccer and NYCFC in 2017.
The diminutive playmaker, nicknamed “the flask”, began his career at Racing Club in his native Buenos Aires.
Without his father’s encouragement, it could have all panned out very differently for Maxi, as he revealed in his first interview upon landing in the United States.
He told NYCFC.com: “I was born in a town three hours from Buenos Aires. I still have family there and friends from childhood.
“Ever since I took my first steps, and when I was four to five-years old, my Dad pushed me to play soccer because at the time I really liked horses. Ever since then I never played another sport that wasn’t soccer.
“Soccer in Argentina is played with so much passion ever since you’re young. We train since we’re able to walk. If you’re from a family who loves soccer, like my Dad, they will push you to play. There are so many fans and we’re so passionate - it’s something that Argentines really love.
“My first team was Racing Club in Buenos Aires where I played my youth career. That was the first team where I learned a lot of important things.
“When I first started playing, I was always a 10. Obviously one starts growing and they start adapting their way of playing. My start was always a 10 and it’s where I feel great.
“My debut was at 18-years old. It was a very young debut, but when it happens to someone, you don’t realize how important it is. Obviously it was something very special and something I remember to this day because it was a great achievement.
“It was incredible and with a great team. I was very young and just starting so to this day I still remember it”
After landing two Argentine titles with Velez Sarsfield, Moralez moved to Atalanta for his first taste of European soccer in 2011.
Although they were a mid-table side, Maxi’s quality always stood out in Italy, even when he came up against a certain Andrea Pirlo who he’ll now call a teammate.
“European soccer teaches you a lot, it helps you play with the best in the world,” Moralez reflects.
“I’ve played against Andrea a lot of times. And to have him as a teammate is something I never expected and I definitely admired him when I had to go against him. But to have him as a teammate is something great.
“The experiences you get from playing with the best in the world helps make you a better player and helps you apply what you learned there.”
Following a spell in Liga MX with Club Leon, Moralez is here in New York City FC as the team’s third Designated Player.
It’s a responsibility which he isn’t taking lightly…
He added: “It’s important to be a DP. I have a responsibility with respect to the younger ones to leave them with the experiences that one has had in their career.
“Luckily, one has played with great players in their last clubs and has played with a lot of professionalism. When one tries to teach the younger ones and show them that with practice, we can achieve so many things.
“It’s important to me to show that to the fans.”