Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão addressed the departure of striker Cyle Larin once more during the club’s 2018 media day and then said he will never speak about it again.
And he did not hold back.
“I have been in this business for so long, for 17 years, so I can testify that we didn’t overreact to what happened,” Leitão said during a press conference Monday at Orlando City Stadium. “You don’t see that happen very often, this type of situation, for different reasons.
“For this kind of situation to happen, you need to have on one side, a player that doesn’t respect the club, doesn’t respect contracts, don’t care about the group. And this is exactly what we saw from Cyle, a player who just decided to get out of the city, … not observe or follow the contract we had with them.”
In January, Turkish side Beşiktaş J.K. posted photos on Twitter of Larin going through a medical evaluation as part of contract negotiations. Orlando City immediately protested, saying Larin was under contract and hiring an attorney to protect its asset.
“At this moment, we have a conversation, ‘What’s the point to force a player with that character, with that personality, a troublemaker? What’s the point of bringing a player like that back to the club?'” Leitão said. “So we decided to engage in negotiations with the Turkish club and came up with, in my opinion, a very good negotiation and result for us as a club.”
Larin skipped the opening of Orlando City’s preseason training camp and was seen in videos training with Beşiktaş instead. After weeks of back-and-forth, the two clubs finally reached a transfer agreement for the Canadian. Orlando City officially announced the resolution by issuing a stern statement Tuesday. Larin and his agent have not responded to multiple requests for comment.
“So that’s exactly what happened. There was no overreaction from our side,” Leitão said. “It is not something that happens every day and the reason is because players are becoming much more professional and that’s not what happened when that gentleman left the club.”