Fire sends Alvaro Fernandez to Qatari team on 6-month loan
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media January 25, 2013 8:44PM
Alvaro Fernandez (right) wanted the Fire to pursue a loan because Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre has ties to the Uruguayan national team. | Getty Images
Updated: February 27, 2013 6:17AM
The Fire completed a deal Friday that sent midfielder Alvaro “Flaco” Fernandez to Qatari club Al Rayyan on a six-month loan, a move that had been rumored for weeks.
Fernandez, 27, came to the Fire in a trade with the Seattle Sounders on July 27, 2012. In 13 regular-season appearances with the Fire last season, Fernandez scored two goals and had an assist.
According to the MLS Players Union’s published list of salaries, Fernandez was the second-highest-paid player on the team last year at $366,666.67. Fernandez occupied one of the Fire’s three allotted designated-player slots.
A Uruguayan national, Fernandez did not take up one of the team’s international roster spots.
“Flaco was interested in exploring options abroad in search of national-team playing time, and this situation allows him that opportunity,” Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon said in a team statement. “We wish Flaco the best in Qatar and with Al Rayyan.”
In a phone interview Jan. 17 with the Sun-Times, Leon said Fernandez wanted the Fire to pursue the loan because Al Rayyan coach Diego Aguirre has ties to the Uruguayan national team.
Fernandez represented his country in the 2010 World Cup and thought playing for Aguirre would best help him further his international career.
The terms of the loan allow Fernandez to possibly return to the Fire in July.