NEW YORK (AP)Major League Soccer scoring leader Valentin ”Taty” Castellanos is leaving New York City FC on loan to join newly promoted Girona in the Spanish league.

The 23-year-old Argentine forward has 13 goals in the MLS this season, tied at the top with countryman Sebastian Driussi of Austin FC.

NYC said Monday that Castellanos was being loaned to Girona, which like NYC is controlled by City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City. The loan to the Catalan club is until June 2023.

”While it is difficult to leave this club, I strongly believe that this is the right time for me to move to Europe which has always been a personal dream of mine,” Castellanos said in a statement released by NYC. ”I feel confident and ready for a new challenge.”

Castellanos made his professional debut with Torque in Uruguay’s second division in 2017. He helped the club win promotion and was loaned to NYC in July 2018. NYC exercised its option to buy his rights after the season.

He scored 50 goals in 109 regular-season games, leading the league last season as NYC won its first MLS title. Castellanos won the 2021 MLS Golden Boot award, scoring 19 goals during the regular season and three goals during the MLS Cup Playoffs, including one in the final.

Girona is back in the Spanish league’s first division after three consecutive seasons in the second tier.

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