Columbus Crew, Lucas Zelarayan agree to new Designated Player deal

The Columbus Crew team announced, Thursday, the signing of a contract with attacking midfielder Lukas Zelarayan for a period of three years, which will keep him with the team until at least 2024.

The designated player deal also contains a club option for 2025.

Zelrayan, 29, spent the last two seasons with The Crew, leading Columbus to the 2020 MLS Cup title – a match in which he was named Player of the Year – and winning the Newcomer Award for the season. In 53 matches in all competitions, he scored 21 goals and added 19 assists.

“Over the past two seasons, Lucas has proven himself as one of the most outstanding players in Major League Soccer, and we’re excited to sign a new contract with him,” Staff General Manager Tim Bezbachenko said in a statement. “Lucas has proven that he can perform under pressure, and he shines again and again when the lights shine. We look forward to seeing what Lucas and the team can achieve together in 2022 and beyond.”

A native of Cordoba, Argentina, Zelarajan rose through the Belgrano academy ranks all the way to the first team, making his debut when he was 19 years old in 2012. He went on to make 81 league and cup appearances, scoring 10 goals.

In 2016, Zelarayan transferred to the Tigres UANL team from Liga MX. He went on to play 140 league and cup matches, scored 23 goals, and led Tigres to three Mexican League titles and three Campion de Campion titles.

At the international level, Zelarayan qualified for Armenian citizenship through his father, and played four matches with the Armenia national team, making his debut in October 2021 against Iceland in the UEFA group stage match within the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

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