Formerly opponents in the Argentine Primera División and perhaps soon-to-be rivals on the international level, Miguel Almirón and Ezequiel Barco now find themselves sporting the same crest on their shirts.
Almirón – the Paraguayan international who earned MLS newcomer of the year in 2017 with Atlanta United – says he’s ecstatic to welcome the 18-year-old Argentine to the squad.
“He is a great player and an excellent person,” said Almirón through a translator. “He’s going to bring a lot to our team and we’re lucky to have him.”
While there are high expectations of the league’s record signing, Almirón admits there is no burden or weight to carry on Barco’s shoulders.
“He left as a champion from Independiente and he was playing in a very competitive league, so I don’t think there is any pressure at all.”
Barco arrived in Florida on Tuesday to join his new team for preseason and he’s been welcomed with open arms since he touched down in the States. Preseason is prime time for bonding and building chemistry, so Barco is inserting himself with Atlanta United at the perfect time.
“He’s my roommate so we’ve been talking,” said Almirón. “I’m getting to know him, he’s getting to know me just like I’m getting to know all the new teammates.”
When asked how long it’d take for Barco to be completely integrated into the squad, Atlanta’s number ten responded with an unsure but confident answer.
“I don’t have a time table to tell you but I just know that the team is going to do everything they can to help him join the squad and also all the new guys we have on the team.”
With the addition of Barco and the other new faces on the team, Almirón hopes that ATL UTD can build on last season, win a championship and fill a void left after their 2017 playoff elimination.
“The club had success last year, especially being its first year, but we still have something pending that we weren’t able to accomplish last year. So now our goal is just to have a good preseason to be able to accomplish that this season.”
The team officially starts their regular season on March 3rd in Houston, but you’ll want to be there for when they kick off in Atlanta as they host their home opener on March 11th against D.C. United. Secure your seat to the party here.