Independiente has confirmed the exit of 18-year-old attacking midfielder Ezequiel Barco amid reports of a record-breaking move to Atlanta United.
The Major League Soccer side paid $15 million for the Argentine Under-20 international, according to ESPN, besting an MLS record that was set when Toronto FC spent $10 million for Michael Bradley in 2013.
Barco has impressed with Argentine power Independiente since joining the first team as a 17-year-old in 2016, and helped his club win the Copa Sudamericana in 2017 by scoring a penalty in the final against Flamengo.
Independiente sent a farewell message to the teenager on Twitter on Friday, saying: “You came here a boy, you grew up in the pension and you leave a champion. Everything can happen, but glory is eternal. Thanks and the best of luck, Ezequiel!”
Llegaste como un chico. Te formaste en la pensión y te vas como un hombre campeón.
Todo pasa, la gloria es eterna.
¡Gracias y éxitos, Ezequiel!#TodoRojo pic.twitter.com/37EhUPVfUr
— C. A. Independiente (@Independiente) January 12, 2018
Several European clubs were rumored to be after Barco, but Atlanta has reportedly completed the deal after a period of negotiations that spanned multiple months.
Barco has scored five goals in 38 appearances in the Argentine Primera Division over the past two seasons.