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  • Writer's pictureSoccer Down Here

Saying Goodbye to El Mago, Atlanta United Earns MLS Record Transfer Fee for Thiago Almada

We talked about it on the Full Time Report after Thiago's last game at the Benz, the wild win over Toronto where he signed off with a brilliant goal. I was asked where he would go down in Atlanta United history. In my opinion, we might be talking about this again in 20 or 30 years and come to the same conclusion, Thiago Almada is the most talented player to represent the badge and he might be for as long as we live.

I said it so many times over the two plus seasons we had the chance to watch him, stop worrying about when he will move on because he will, enjoy the time you have to watch his genius now. I hope he is appreciated today as he will be in the years to come.

To me, Thiago felt like a throwback of the classic Argentine tradition. A #10 at heart, no matter what his position was on the field. He saw passes that mortals had no right to see, let alone deliver. He wasn't necessarily flashy on the dribble, but he was so hard to dispossess and could get defenders where he wanted them. During his time in Atlanta, he became more goal dangerous and in a variety of ways.

What I always appreciated about Thiago was something that he was often criticized for, his willingness to go wherever needed on the field. Dropping deep to get on the ball when the team was struggling to get out of their own half, drifting wide to try to find space, things that weren't what "superstars" necessarily enjoyed doing. Even with his unmatched talent in the attacking third, he was sacrifice to help the team collective. Sometimes too much, sure, but it came from the right place in his heart.

We were able to watch a star boy in Atlanta became a man who has no limits in where the game can take him in the world. I hope there are many more magical moments from Thiago to come in an Argentina shirt, starting with this summer's Olympics. I wish nothing but the best to him in the rest of his career, wherever that takes him. I'll always be a fan.

Thiago, gracias totales.

(the picture below is one of the last of Thiago from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but the smiles on the kids' faces after his goal represents all of the smiles he gave us during his time in Atlanta)

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