Colorado Rapids officially bid farewell to Spanish midfielder José Mari

Confirmation of José Mari's departure from the Colorado Rapids has been rubber-stamped, after the 27-year-old was officially unveiled by Spanish La Liga side Levante UD.

The stylish midfielder indicated his desire to return to his homeland in early December, after just one season with the Rapids. He underwent his medical (below) on Saturday, and has since been paraded before the Spanish media but he leaves with fond memories of his time in Colorado.

"It has been a wonderful year for me in Denver, with the Rapids, and one that I will always remember," José Mari said. "I want to thank the Club that trusted in me to be part of the roster last year. Also, thanks to my teammates and the coaching staff that made me feel one more of the family.

"And specially, I want to thank the fans for their support during all the season and the love that they transmitted to me and chose me as MVP of the year. It is something that I will never forget.

"Finally I want to thank the league for allowing me to play and have the experience in MLS, and even though my early future is in Spain, close to my family, I hope that in the future I could have the opportunity to come back and play in MLS, an exciting league that is growing very fast and definitely will be as competitive as Europe very soon."

His new side lost 1-0 at Elche on Sunday, who overtook them in the standings, leaving Levante second from bottom after 19 games of the season, the midway point of the campaign.

Among José Mari's new teammates will be former Juventus and Liverpool defender Mohamed Sissoko. Those who have previously trodden this particular path include current MLS players Obafemi Martins and Péguy Luyindula, as well as the legendary Johan Cruyff.

"While we are disappointed that José Mari has decided to return home we respect his decision and wish him the best at his new club," said VP of Soccer Operations and Technical Director, Paul Bravo. "He was a true professional on and off the field and we thank him for his contributions in 2014."

José Mari had played his entire professional career in Spain before arriving at the Rapids during preseason last year. He signed with the club in early March and made his debut in the season opener at New York Red Bulls. In all, the former Real Zaragoza player made 20 appearances for the Rapids, netting four goals.

Highlights from his brief spell include the wonder goals he scored at Vancouver Whitecaps (April 5) and Real Salt Lake (Sept. 19). His maiden MLS goal, at the Whitecaps, was the runaway winner of the AT&T Goal of the Week.


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