“Ezequiel has been an important part of our success over the last four seasons,” Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He helped us win three trophies and is coming off the best season of his young career. We felt that this move made sense for both Ezequiel and the club and we wish him continued success during his loan at River Plate.”
The loan opens a Designated Player spot on Atlanta United’s roster that is expected to be filled by another young Argentinian playmaker, Thiago Almada. The club has confirmed that it holds the player’s MLS rights.
River Plate confirmed the acquisition of Barco on Saturday.
Barco becomes the third Designated Player sold or loaned by the club. The first was Miguel Almiron to Newcastle for more than $20 million. The second was Pity Martinez to Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia for $17.6 million. The team has bought down several players from DP status, including Hector Villalba, Marcelino Moreno and Alan Franco.