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LGP says goodbye to Atlanta United

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We’ll miss you too, Leandro.

Minnesota United FC v Atlanta United FC: Final - 2019 U.S. Open Cup Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

We all knew it was coming, but Friday the band-aid was finally ripped off. The transfer of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to Club Tijuana was finally made official. Shortly after the move was announced and right before his sparkling debut against Santos Laguna in a 2-1 win, LGP sent out a farewell message to the club, fans and his teammates on Instagram:

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Quiero tomarme este tiempo, hubiese querido que fuera antes pero ahora que es oficial (antes no podía), para agradecerles por todo, pero no para despedirme porque mi vida está ahí en esa ciudad, en donde me hice de muchos amigos, en donde me siento muy querido y apoyado por la afición de Atlanta, en donde nació mi primera hija y es algo que me marcó a esta ciudad para siempre, solo quiero agradecer infinitamente a todos los fans pero también en el especial a toda la gente que trabaja en el club, desde todo el plantel de jugadores en donde me llevo amigos pero también al cuerpo médico, Utileros, dirigentes administrativos a TODOS un gracias enorme por haberme apoyado y ayudado a siempre dar lo mejor de mi, no es un adiós sino un hasta luego ATLANTA. Nos veremos pronto nuevamente! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️... @atlutd I wanna take some time to write this. I would have liked to say this words before but I can now that it is officially announced (I was not supposed to do it before that). I’m so thankful for everything that happened in Atlanta. I don’t wanna say goodbye because a part of my life stays in this city, where I made a lot of friends, where I felt very loved and supported by the fans of ATLUTD, where my first daughter was born and it is something that will connect me to this city forever. I just want to infinitely thank all the fans but also in the special to all the people who work in the club, from the whole squad of players where I made friends for life but also to the medical staff, equipment room staff, administrative leaders... to ALL OF THE ATLUTD FAMILY a huge THANK YOU for having supported me and helped me in all the ways to always give my best. It is not a goodbye but a see you later ATLANTA . See you soon again! ❤ ❤ ❤... @atlutd

A post shared by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (@leanpirez) on

I wanna take some time to write this. I would have liked to say this words before but I can now that it is officially announced (I was not supposed to do it before that). I’m so thankful for everything that happened in Atlanta. I don’t wanna say goodbye because a part of my life stays in this city, where I made a lot of friends, where I felt very loved and supported by the fans of ATLUTD, where my first daughter was born and it is something that will connect me to this city forever.

I just want to infinitely thank all the fans but also in the special to all the people who work in the club, from the whole squad of players where I made friends for life but also to the medical staff, equipment room staff, administrative leaders... to ALL OF THE ATLUTD FAMILY a huge THANK YOU for having supported me and helped me in all the ways to always give my best.

It is not a goodbye but a see you later ATLANTA . See you soon again! ❤ ❤ ❤... @atlutd

Over the past few seasons we’ve seen quite a few changes. Yamil Asad and Carlos Carmona leaving after season one was eye-opening. Miguel Almiron heading to England after season two was expected but still hurt. LGP’s departure from the team really won’t hit home until that first lineup of the season comes out and he’s not on the teamsheet.

He’s been a constant since day one. His on-field impact was obvious. However, it’s the intangibles that he brought off the field that will be missed the most. Any time you heard about a new signing from South America coming over the past few years, you’d always see Leandro’s name bandied about in reports welcoming that player to the team and helping them get acquainted.

The realization that he’s now gone is quite a stark contrast from the team leader/possible future captain image he had created for himself under Tata Martino. Unfortunately, it feels like his decline in relations with the club coincided with the arrival of Frank de Boer. It’s a shame that it ended this way, but nothing should take away from the great memories LGP was a huge part in helping create.

It really feels like a new era arriving not having Leandro and Michael Parkhurst anchoring the team from the back. Here’s to hoping whatever the back line looks like in 2020 can live up to the huge expectations those two set.