FC Dallas sign former Real Madrid midfielder Illarra

FC Dallas has signed former Real Sociedad and Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi, rejecting several other offers to join compatriot Nico Estevez.

The 33-year-old left Sociedad over the summer, having captained the side since 2018. He is primarily a defensive midfielder, but can play higher up as an eight.

Hailing from Mutriku, some 20 miles away from the Basque club’s home of San Sebastien, Illarramendi came up through the Real Sociedad academy, making his first team debut in the second division in June 2010.

A breakout season 2012 saw Real Sociedad qualify for the Champions League and a €32.2m move to Real Madrid emerge. He went on to win the UCL with Madrid, starting ten of the Merengues 13 games. He had to settle for a place on the bench in the final.

A move back to Real Sociedad saw Illarramendi eventually push to break into the Spanish national team, winning three caps in 2017. He scored the winning goal in the 1-0 win over Israel that finished out Spain’s perfect qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

Illarra made 31 appearances in 2022/23 across La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Europa League. He will take up an international roster spot on a contract through the end of 2023 with a team option for 2024.

The Spaniard’s signing adds some context to the yet-to-be-announced trade of Edwin Cerrillo to the LA Galaxy.

Full Name: Asier Illarramendi Andonegi (aH-si- ehr – E-ya-Rah-men-dee)
X: @illarra4
Instagram: @illarra4
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Date of Birth: March 8, 1990 (33)
Birthplace: Mutriku, Spain
Nationality: Spanish
Height: 5’10’
Weight: 168
Last Club: Real Sociedad (LaLiga)
Transaction: FC Dallas Acquires Free Agent Midfielder Asier Illarramendi


  1. wtf….

    we’re bringing in a 33 year old? and we moved cerrilo to make it happen?

    screw Nico…

    1. You can look at it that way, or they brought in a guy who played 31 games in a team that qualified for the Champions League in a position that wasn’t really nailed down. Same result either way.

      1. 33 is still young enough where he could have the legs to still cover the ground he needs to in MLS. I would guess the plan is for him to step in to the starting lineup in place of Quignon, but not really familiar with him

  2. Love it…love it…love it! This is exactly what the team needed and what we’ve been missing since Leonel Alvarez. Illarra, Sebastian, Allen V – may be FDC’s best midfield since the David Ferrera days. Championships are not won with a bunch of average players.

  3. Age is a concern for me. I do like that he appears to have been getting meaningful minutes last season, and I’ve felt a truly dominant DM is really the missing piece for Dallas. However we still have an open DP spot and I would have preferred to use it there on someone younger.

  4. Did they get an international slot from somewhere that I missed? Like, did someone on roster get a green card? Unless they did, FCD’s now using 11 int’l slots (Paes, Velasco, Quignon, Martinez, Obrian, Geovane, Tsiki, Mulato, Jimenez, Ansah, and Illarra) and only had 10 available last I was aware.

    1. Tsiki is no longer listed as an international on the MLS roster page. Those aren’t always particularly accurate though.

  5. Seems like they were ready to move on from Edwin and took what they could get. Illarra is only under contract for the remainder of the season… suggests Dallas knows not to put all their eggs in this basket.

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