Canadian forward Cyle Larin already a fan favourite in Spain with Real Valladolid
Canadian Cyle Larin has made a splash landing in La Liga.
The 27-year-old from Brampton, Ont., has scored the winning goal off the bench in his first two appearances for Real Valladolid CF since joining the Spanish top-tier side from Belgium's Club Brugge.
Larin has two goals in just 47 minutes work.
According to Opta, Larin is the first player to score in each of his first two games for Valladolid in league play this century. His two goals to date in Spain are double his count in his nine games for Brugge in the Jupiler Pro League this season.
Larin opened his Valladolid account in the 90th minute for a 1-0 victory over Valencia CF on Jan. 29, acrobatically knocking in a cross from Venezuelan Darwin Machis to beat goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili at the far post before 19,657 fans at Valladolid's Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla.
On Sunday, he outjumped a defender to head in Luis Perez's cross in the 73rd minute for a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.
The victories have moved Valladolid (7-11-2) out of the relegation zone into 13th place in Spain's 20-team top tier. Valladolid had lost its five previous matches, outscored 10-0, prior to Larin taking the pitch.
The goals — and rise up the standings — have made the Canadian a fan favourite. Valladolid's English-language Twitter account ran a picture of the Hulk with Larin's face superimposed on its giant green body with the caption: "Cyle in Valladolid is a BEAST."
Other club tweets read simply "Hero" and "We love you, Larin."
Valladolid hosts ninth-place Osasuna (8-7-5) on Sunday.
Larin, Canada's leading men's international scorer, made the move to Spain on Jan. 24 in a loan deal with a purchase option at the end of the season.
Larin joined fellow Canadian Tajon Buchanan at Club Brugge in July from Turkey's Besiktas but failed to establish himself in the lineup. He had one goal in 13 appearances for the Belgian side.
Larin, who has 25 goals in 48 appearances for Canada, saw action in all three World Cup games in Qatar. He played a key part in Canada's successful World Cup qualifying campaign with 13 goals in 16 games.
The six-foot-two striker set the Canadian men's scoring record in January in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over the U.S. in Hamilton, passing Dwayne De Rosario, who had 22 goals in 81 appearances.
Larin joined Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson at Besiktas in January 2018 after a messy exit from Major League Soccer's Orlando City. Larin scored 23 times in 45 games to help Besiktas to the Turkish league and cup double in 2020-21.
After two years at the University of Connecticut, Larin was selected first overall by Orlando in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
He won MLS rookie of the year honours in 2015 after scoring a rookie-record 17 goals and added another 14 goals in 2016 and 12 in 2017.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press