MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When Minnesota United sold star player Miguel Ibarra to a Club Leon of Mexico last month, not only did the deal have a seven-figure price tag, but it also came with a condition.
That Ibarra’s new team come to Minnesota to play a game against his old team.
Ibarra received a hero’s welcome after Friday’s practice in St. Paul. It kind of felt like a welcome home, except this isn’t home for Ibarra anymore.
“It’s crazy, he said. “I was just here, playing with Minnesota and living here and now I’m just visiting.”
The guy who was Minnesota’s most popular player will be playing against Minnesota. Ibarra said it’s been a little odd, staying in the visitor’s hotel, wearing the opposing team’s uniform, but that the transition to his new team in Mexico has been going very well so far.
“I thought it was going to be more difficult,” Ibarra said. “But actually, the guys have been really nice to me. They welcomed me really well, making me feel comfortable.”
Ibarra will play the first half for his old team, Minnesota United. Then at halftime will whip off one jersey in exchange for another, and play the second half for his new team, Club Leon.
“It’s going to be, for me, amazing,” he said. “Just getting to play another half with Minnesota, with my teammates that I used to have, is going to be an amazing thing to happen.”
Because of what it meant to him to play for Minnesota, and what it means to get to play here one more time.
“A lot,” he said. “I mean, my career started here. So just being here four years and just how much I’ve grown, just this year going with the national team and everything, it’s just been a dream come true and it’s just been a great experience.”