Real Zaragoza Captain Set For Ottawa?
Spanish national newspaper MARCA is reporting that former Real Zaragoza captain Alberto Zapater looks set to conclude his career in the Canadian capital.
Zapater, 38, is reported to have accepted a contract offer from Atletico Madrid-owned Canadian Premier League side Atletico Ottawa, who finished last year as the regular season champions.
It’s been a tough start to the newest campaign, however, and the veteran defensive midfielder – who has plenty of La Liga and Serie A matches to his name – could help settle some nerves as the side looks to climb up from second-last in league standings.
The veteran defensive midfielder has made 422 appearances for Real Zaragoza, where he started his career in 2004 and later returned in 2016, captaining the club after it had been relegated to the second division ahead of his second spell.
He’s also played for Italy’s Genoa, Portugal’s Sporting CP, and Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow in between his time with Real Zaragoza.
The 38-year-old has wrapped up his contract following the conclusion of the club’s latest campaign, but remains keen to continue his playing career with a new challenge: something outside of Europe.
Having played in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Russia throughout his career thus far, it seems that a spell in Canada might be just what the doctor ordered for the former Real Zaragoza Captain, with MARCA reporting that he’s already accepted an offer to join when the transfer window opens in July.
The capital city club currently has five of seven allowed internationals, but are already rumoured to be bringing in Swiss-Spaniard striker Ruben Del Campos. Should both come in, the club still needs to adhere to a league rule mandating 50% of their internationals be U-23, and both arriving would mean that only three out of seven (43%) would be.
It’s awkward to have a 50% rule for an uneven number of slots, so it’s unclear how the league plans to interpret the new U-23 international ratio – something that was only introduced this year.
Zapater will be far from the only Spaniard in the nation’s capita should he indeed come in: helmed by head coach Carlos Gonzalez and with further two Spanish nationals on the coaching staff, the starting eleven also includes Spanish defenders Diego Espejo and Miguel Acosta.
Should he ultimately land in the Canadian Premier League, he’d be the oldest athlete throughout the league’s eight clubs – something that can sometimes be a touchy issue – but with that comes high level experience for which there is no substitute.