FC Cincinnati sign Colombian International and former Atlético Madrid defender Santiago Arias

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FC Cincinnati have signed veteran defender Santiago Arias (pronounced: AH-ree-us) to a contract through the 2023 season, with an option for 2024, the club announced today. Arias, 31, joins the Orange and Blue having most recently played in Spain’s La Liga for Granada on loan from Atlético Madrid.

The Colombian full back has made over 275 appearances throughout the top leagues in Europe since signing with Portuguese side Sporting CP in 2011. He also had notable stints with Dutch power PSV Eindhoven (2013-18) and Spanish club Atlético Madrid (2018-22). He has made 54 caps for his country, including seven appearances in the FIFA World Cup, highlighted by starting all four of Colombia’s matches at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

“Santi brings an enormous amount of experience and ability to FC Cincinnati,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati General Manager. “His defensive instincts, character, and overall quality is a welcome addition to the group and I’d like to welcome him and his family to Cincinnati.”

Arias brings over 300 professional appearances for club and country to the Queen City. On July 31, 2018, he was acquired by Atlético Madrid following an impressive stretch with PSV Eindhoven and the Colombian National Team. He made 51 appearances with Atlético, scoring one goal and adding three assists. Six of his appearances with the club came in UEFA Champions League play.

Most recently, Arias played with Granada in the 2021-22 season. He made 12 league appearances and two Copa del Rey appearances, scoring one goal, an 86th minute game-winner in a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alavés on December 3, 2021. Prior to his time with Granada, he spent the 2020-21 season on loan with German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

He previously played for PSV Eindhoven, where in over five seasons he played in 172 games, including 10 in Champions League competition, scoring 10 goals and adding 21 assists. Arias lifted five titles with PSV, including three Dutch league (Eredivisie) titles and two Dutch Super Cup victories. In 2017-18, he was named the Eredivisie Player of the Year.

Arias made his European debut with Portugal’s Sporting CP in November 2011, where he made 10 appearances with the first team but spent most of his time with Sporting CP B, where he scored one goal in 28 appearances. Prior to making the move abroad, Arias began his youth career with Colombian side La Equidad and moved into the first team for his professional debut in July 2009.

Internationally, Arias has earned 54 caps for Colombia, making his senior team debut on October 16, 2013, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Paraguay. He was included in Los Cafeteros’ 23-man roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where he made three appearances including one start. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he started all four matches for Colombia, and did not come off until the 116th minute against England in the Round of 16, where Los Cafeteros would fall on penalties.

Arias has provided six assists for his country, including twice in Copa América competition. He has represented his country in three Copa América tournaments (2015, 2016, 2019), including Copa América Centenario in the United States in 2016, where he started and played both matches against the USMNT in the Group Stage opener and the Third Place match.

TRANSACTION: FC Cincinnati sign Santiago Arias to a contract through the 2023 season, with an option for 2024, on Feb. 9, 2023.

Pronunciation: AH-ree-us
Position: Defender
Height: 5’ 8’’
Birthdate: January 13, 1992 (31)
Birthplace: Medellín, Colombia
Nationality: Colombian
How Acquired: Signed to a contract through 2023 with an option for 2024 on Feb. 9, 2023.