COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has acquired 27-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan (pronounced: LOO-cass SELL-ah-rah-YAN), who joins Crew SC as a Designated Player. Zelarayan joins Crew SC from Liga MX side Tigres UANL – Mexico’s winningest team over the last five years – where he won six domestic titles and one international title. The transfer transaction for the midfielder represents the Club’s largest acquisition transfer fee in club history. Zelarayan will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa, also occupying an international roster spot.
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“We are excited to welcome Lucas Zelarayan to Columbus Crew SC,” said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Lucas is both an intelligent and skillful player whose ability to score and create goals makes him the type of playmaker we want on our team. He has been a key member of one of the most dominant Liga MX teams in recent years, consistently winning national and international titles with Tigres UANL. We expect Lucas to be both a difference-maker and a leader in our squad.”
Continued Bezbatchenko, “Lucas was a highly sought-after player in the global transfer market and his signing marks the largest acquisition transfer fee in Club history. We want to thank the Haslam and Edwards families for their investment and continued commitment to making the Crew a team that aims to contend for championships. With their support, we were able to sign a player of Lucas’ caliber. This is a historic moment for the Club.”
Zelarayan made 139 appearances, scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists across all competitions for Tigres UANL from 2016-2019. He joined Tigres UANL on December 21, 2015. The Argentine went on to make 19 appearances for the club in his first season while registering one goal and one assist in his first season in Liga MX, en route to helping Tigres win the 2016 Campeon de Campeones trophy as well as reach the 2015-2016 Concacaf Champions League Finals. During the 2016-2017 season, Zelarayan made 48 appearances for the club, scoring eight goals and providing seven assists as Tigres UANL won the Torneo Apertura 2016 and the 2017 Campeon de Campeones trophy, as well as reached the 2016-2017 Concacaf Champions League Finals – the second time in as many years for Tigres.
The midfielder made 29 appearances during the 2017-2018 season, recording five goals and two assists as he helped Tigres UANL continued their domestic dominance by winning the Torneo Apertura 2017 and their third consecutive Campeon de Campeones trophy. Notably, Zelarayan scored a goal and provided an assist in the Campeon de Campeones final, helping Tigres defeat Santos Laguna 4-0. That season, Tigres also won the inaugural Campeones Cup by defeating 2017 MLS Cup winners Toronto FC. The Argentine player made 18 appearances and tallied five goals and four assists during the 2018-2019 season, as Tigres UANL won the Torneo Clausura 2019. That season, the midfielder helped Tigres reach the final of the inaugural Leagues Cup as well as the 2019 Concacaf Champions League Finals. During the first half of the 2019-2020 season, Zelarayan made 15 appearances with Tigres UANL, netting four goals.
Prior to his time with Tigres, Zelarayan played for Club Atletico Belgrano of Argentina from 2013-2015, where he made 77 appearances across all competitions while scoring 10 goals and providing six assists. A product of the Belgrano Academy, the midfielder made his professional debut for Belgrano’s First Team on March 2, 2013. While with Club Atletico Belgrano, Zelarayan made two appearances in CONMEBOL’s 2015 Copa Sudamericana – one of South America’s two major international club tournaments.
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC acquires attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan as a Designated Player on December 19, 2019. He will officially be added to the Black & Gold roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa, also occupying an international roster spot.
Name: Lucas Zelarayan (pronounced: LOO-cass SELL-ah-rah-YAN)
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Born: June 20, 1992 in Cordoba, Argentina
Hometown: Cordoba, Argentina
Acquired: Acquired as a Designated Player on December 19, 2019.
Previous Experience: Tigres UANL (2016-2019), Club Atletico Belgrano (2013-2015)