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Atletico Ottawa Zapater Del Campo

Atletico Ottawa Adds Big International Flair With Zapater, Del Campo

By on June 28, 2023 0 1528 Views

Knowing that it needs to climb up the league rankings, Atletico Ottawa has wasted little time in securing additional international firepower.

The capital city club has brought in Swiss-Spaniard forward Ruben Del Campo and former Real Zaragoza captain Alberto Zapater, the latter of whom immediately cements himself as perhaps the most storied veteran in league history.

Alberto Lapater Atletico Ottawa Rumour

38-year-old defensive midfielder Alberto Zapater arrives with over one hundred La Liga and Serie A matches to his name, having also made 422 appearances for hometown club Real Zaragoza through two separate spells.

Having donned the captain’s armband there (and faced Messi, no less), he will be a central piece for the club both on the pitch and off for his experience throughout Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Russia – though it remains to be seen how the 38-year-old’s fitness will fare in a league filled with long travel and turf pitches.

“We are very excited to welcome Alberto to Ottawa as one of, if not the biggest, signing in Canadian Premier League history,” stated club CEO Fernando Lopez.

“His remarkable career speaks for itself, and we believe he will give our team the boost we need to covert our good performances to even better results. This is a position on the field we have been determined to bolster and in Alberto, I think we have found the right match for our squad. We will continue with our commitment to bring top players to the nation’s capital to become the benchmark for soccer in the Canadian landscape.”

All-told, Zapater is certainly a significant coup for the club, particularly with many assuming the former Real Zaragoza captain – who also had offers in Spain – would hang up his boots. Tempted by one last challenge, it’ll be interesting to see if he can pull last year’s regular season champions back up the league rankings.

Atletico Ottawa Ruben Del Campo Rumour

Ruben Del Campo, meanwhile, arrives as a U-23 international who has shown spurts of promise over in Spain. He arrives on a free after his contract with San Fernando CD was terminated by mutual consent after a hot start there fizzled out.

The Swiss-Spaniard forward is no stranger to Atletico Madrid, Ottawa’s parent club, having gone through its youth ranks under Carlos Gonzalez.

“His speed, goal-scoring instincts, and selfless work ethic make him a valuable asset,” added the faffer. “Ruben’s inclusion will offer us a different dimension in the final third, and I am confident he will make a significant contribution to our success.”

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, he inked a deal with Portuguese side FC Famalicao – who also have ownership ties to Atletico Madrid – before jumping clubs to CD Numancia. There, he bagged three goals in 12 matches at the Segunda Division B level.

The striker then moved to UD Melilla last year, where he got regular first team minutes in the Segunda RFEF, entering double-digits on the scoring charts with ten goals in 32 appearances despite being one of the younger strikers in the league.

After the expiry of his contract, he joined San Fernando CD for the 2023 season, scoring four goals early on before an 18-match dry spell preceded his exit.

With Malcolm Shaw on international duty with Trinidad and Tobago for the Gold Cup, Del Campo will have a solid chance at a redemption arc as Atletico Ottawa seeks to carve out a positive goal difference.

Atletico Ottawa Carlos Gonzalez
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Atletico Ottawa head coach Carlos Gonzalez had said there was nothing major to correct with his team, who currently rest fifth in league standings. Despite that, they’re now leading the league in midseason signings.

The duo’s arrival means that the capital city club have now used all seven international slots, with half of them being U-23 athletes as per league roster rules. While the CPL head office says that the seventh slot needs to belong to a U-21 international, we’ve learned that this really means clubs just need to have one player in that category if they’re using all seven international slots.

The club has banked heavily on Spanish talent, with defenders Diego Espejo and Miguel Acosta also hailing from there, with head coach Carlos Gonzalez and two of his coaching staff also stemming from the country of Atletico Ottawa’s parent club.

Atletico Ottawa return to action this Friday with a high-profile tilt away to top-of-the-table Pacific FC.

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