Did you know that City Football Group partially owns a club in China?
Cheap jokes aside, City Football Group bought what was then Sichuan Jiuniu FC in February 2019 when they were a third-tier club. Since the CFG takeover, the club has now been promoted to the top-flight Chinese Super League for the first time in its history, and has been rebranded and relocated, moving to Shenzhen from Chengdu, Sichuan only as of January 2024.
You may remember that Thiago Andrade left NYCFC for a loan spell back in Brazil with Club Athletico Paranaense on April 3, 2023, heading to his home country and its top-flight Brasileirão through December 31, 2023. That loan to Paranaense, according to NYCFC’s official release announcing it, included “an option to become permanent which is automatically exercised if certain performance criteria are met.”
The 23-year-old Brazilian forward must not have met those performance criteria, because his loan to Paranaense ended after 16 goalless appearances across all competitions, with Thiago officially heading back to once again become a New York City FC player, though one without a future within the actual NYCFC squad.
That lack of NYCFC future was made clear when the club announced its preseason traveling roster. That announcement singled out Thiago Andrade, Nicolás Acevedo, and Cody Mizell as players who each were in the process of finalizing outgoing transfers.
With the news of Thiago Andrade’s move within the City Football Group network to the Chinese Super League, all three of those players have now parted with NYCFC.
Thiago’s NYCFC career stats look set to stand as 12 goals scored across 71 appearances in all competitions, with the winger and sometimes striker a part of the teams that won MLS Cup and Campeones Cup—he notably played 20 minutes and converted his penalty kick in NYCFC’s 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinal upset win on the road against the Supporters’ Shield-holding New England Revolution.
Despite the team’s glaring lack of quality attacking players at the start of the 2023 season, Thiago Andrade still managed to fall out of Nick Cushing and David Lee’s plans almost instantly. The winger started and went the full 90 minutes in the team’s limp 2023 season-opening loss in Nashville, but then only made three brief appearances as a substitute before being shipped out to Brazil on loan.
His last goal with NYCFC helped deliver a home win at Yankee Stadium over DC United, which is ironic, because the goal that likely every NYCFC fan will remember Thiago Andrade for was also responsible for sealing a home win over DC United.