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LAFC says goodbye to Laurent Ciman, transfers captain to Ligue 1 club

Los Angeles FC announced Tuesday it transferred captain Laurent Ciman to Dijon FCO in the French Ligue 1. Ciman was the first player to wear the captain’s armband for the club in its inaugural season, and he scored the team’s first goal in its home stadium April 26. 

“Laurent has been a big part of LAFC’s history,” LAFC general manager John Thorrington said. “He will be forever remembered as the club’s first captain and the first goal scorer at Banc of California Stadium. These decisions are never easy, but we succeeded in finding the right deal for both the club and Laurent.”

The move comes ahead of LAFC’s final eight games of the regular season. Before the transaction, Ciman started all 22 of the games he played for the club, notching three goals and earning honors as a 2018 MLS All-Star. His first goal for the team cemented the stunning 1-0 win with a free kick in the final seconds of the home opener against Seattle. 

The Black and Gold acquired Ciman from the Montreal Impact last December, in exchange for Jukka Raitala, Raheem Edwards and a pair of selections in the 2017 Expansion Draft. Over his five seasons in the MLS, he was distinguished as the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year and called up for three MLS All-Star games. 

“Laurent has played an important role getting us started in our first season at LAFC,” head coach Bob Bradley said. “He has given a lot to this Club and we will always appreciate his passion, leadership and strong play.”

The club reportedly paid a transfer fee of $500,000 in exchange for the team’s “General,” according to Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. The team said their final goodbyes on the training field on Monday, with Bradley and other players thanking Ciman for his contribution towards the team’s inaugural season.

In a statement on Instagram, Ciman thanked the club for prioritizing his own wishes, following his desire to return closer to home with his family.

“The club put the best interests of me and my family above their own, which is rare in today’s world,” Ciman said. “The organization allowed me the chance to return to Europe and continue playing at a high level with a deal providing long-term security to my family. To LAFC fans and the organization, my gratitude and love forever.”

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