Canadian soccer star Cyle Larin secures loan deal with Spain's Real Valladolid

Forward Cyle Larin, Canada's leading men's international scorer, has joined Spain's Real Valladolid on a loan deal with a purchase option at the end of the season.

Canada's leading men's international scorer makes move from Belgium's Club Brugge

Cyle Larin of Canada on the field during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada.
Cyle Larin of Canada seen during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Larin, Canada's leading men's international scorer, has joined Spain's Real Valladolid on a loan deal with a purchase option at the end of the season. (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Forward Cyle Larin, Canada's leading men's international scorer, has joined Spain's Real Valladolid on a loan deal with a purchase option at the end of the season.

The move from Belgium's Club Brugge offers the 27-year-old from Brampton, Ont., a fresh start.

Larin joined fellow Canadian Tajon Buchanan at Club Brugge in July from Turkey's Besiktas but failed to establish himself in the lineup. He had one goal in 13 appearances for the Belgian side.

Real Valladolid currently sits 18th in Spain's 20-team top flight at 5-11-2. It is need of goals, having scored just 13 goals this season. Only Cadiz and Elche, the teams below it, have scored fewer with 12 apiece.

Valladolid has lost its last five matches in cup and league play, outscored 8-0. Former Brazilian star striker Ronaldo is the team's president and majority owner.

Larin, who has 25 goals in 48 appearances for Canada, saw action in all three World Cup games in Qatar. He played a key part in Canada's successful World Cup qualifying campaign with 13 goals in 16 games.

The six-foot-two striker set the Canadian men's scoring record in January in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over the U.S. in Hamilton, passing Dwayne De Rosario, who had 22 goals in 81 appearances.

Larin joined Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson at Besiktas in January 2018 after a messy exit from Major League Soccer's Orlando City. Larin scored 23 times in 45 games to help Besiktas to the Turkish league and cup double in 2020-21.

After two years at the University of Connecticut, Larin was selected first overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

He won MLS rookie of the year honours in 2015 after scoring a rookie-record 17 goals and added another 14 goals in 2016 and 12 in 2017.

Larin, who played for Toronto-area academy Sigma FC from 2007 through 2014, made his senior debut for Canada against Bulgaria in May 2014.

Toronto FC signs defender Raoul Petretta

Toronto FC added to its defence Tuesday by signing former Italian youth international Raoul Petretta from Turkey's Kasimpasa Spor Kulubu.

Toronto used targeted allocation money to sign the 25-year-old through 2025 with an option for 2026.

Petretta fills the void left by fellow Italian Domenico Criscito, who left after the 2022 season to rejoin his former club Genoa.

Petretta, whose parents are originally from Italy, joined Kasimpasa in July and appeared in 12 matches across all competitions. Before that he spent four seasons in Switzerland with FC Basel, making 152 appearances with 10 goals and 12 assists in all competitions.

During his time with Basel, Petretta saw action in the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League and won the Swiss Super League (2016-17) and the Swiss Cup (2016-17 and 2018-19).

"Raoul is an experienced young left-back who established himself in a strong European club and has gained experience playing at a high level in European competitions with FC Basel," Bob Bradley, Toronto's head coach and sporting director, said in a statement.

"He is a smart passer, disciplined defender, and has the work rate to get up and down the left flank consistently. We are excited to have him join Toronto FC and strengthen our backline."

Born in Rheinfelden, Germany, Petretta started his career with Basel in 2005, rising through the youth ranks to make his pro debut in April 2017.

The five-foot-nine 152-pounder made his debut with the Italian under-21 team in a friendly against Portugal in May 2018.

Petretta, who joined TFC at its training camp in San Diego on Tuesday, joins defender Matt Hedges and forward Adama Diomande as newcomers this season. Toronto has also brought back attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez, who left the team in January 2019 to join a club in Qatar before returning to MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

MLS teams can use targeted allocation money to sign a new player provided his salary and acquisition costs are more than the league's maximum salary budget charge, which was $612,500 US last season.

4 CPL teams to open Voyageurs Cup away from home

The Canadian Championship draw doesn't take place until next Tuesday but it has already been determined that Cavalry FC, HFX Wanderers FC, Valour FC and Vancouver FC will open on the road.

The Canadian Premier League said the four teams cannot play at home because of stadium availability and weather conditions.

The knockout tournament kicks off April 18 with 14 clubs, including the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps and three first-time participants.

The four-round tournament features teams from Major League Soccer, CPL, League1 BC, League1 Ontario and Quebec's Premier League (premiere ligue de soccer du Quebec or PLSQ).

A trophy being lifted.
The Voyageurs Cup was first awarded in 2002. Montreal's MLS team, formerly known as the Montreal Impact, currently known as CF Montreal, have won it 11 times, the most of any team. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

New to the tournament are the CPL's Vancouver FC, League1 BC's TSS Rovers FC from Richmond, and Quebec's FC Laval.

Vancouver and Toronto will receive first-round byes as the 2022 champion and runner-up,

The remaining 12 teams will play first-round matches April 18-20, with the quarterfinals scheduled for May 9-11, the semifinals May 23-25, and the final in early June.

The Canadian Championship winner gets to hoist the Voyageurs Cup as well as qualify for the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the elite club competition in the region.

The 14 clubs will be drawn from different pots.

Toronto has won the Canadian Championship eight times, compared to five for Montreal and twice for Vancouver.

Draw assistants will be Terry Dunfield and Tosaint Ricketts. Dunfield was alternate captain when the Whitecaps were runner-up in 2011 and won the Voyageurs Cup with Toronto in 2012. Ricketts was a back-to-back winner with Toronto in 2017 and 2018 before he won again in 2022 with the Vancouver Whitecaps

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