Marcelo Nicolás Lodeiro Benítez (Spanish pronunciation: ; born 21 March 1989), commonly known as Nicolás Lodeiro, is a Uruguayan footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Seattle Sounders FC and the Uruguay national team.
Lodeiro has played professionally in Uruguay, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, and the United States, winning the Eredivisie in both of his seasons at Ajax, and winning the domestic double in 2015 with Boca Juniors.
A full international since 2009, Lodeiro has earned over 40 caps for Uruguay. He was part of the teams which came fourth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and won the 2011 Copa América.
Lodeiro was born in 1989 in Paysandú, which borders Argentina. It was here that he made his first steps as a footballer in the youth sides of local club Barrio Obrero. It wasn't too long before his talent was recognised by a local scout called Daniel López who nurtured him to play for the youth team at Nacional Montevideo aged only 14 years old.
Four years later, at the age of 18, Lodeiro made his debut for the Nacional first team against Fénix on 19 August 2007. Later on in the year he also scored his first senior goal and it was clear to see that in Lodeiro, there was a new star in the making.
A year later, Lodeiro continued to make progress, securing more playing time and even scored against River Plate in the Pre-Libertadores playoff. But 2009 was the year that Lodeiro really began to make progress. His three goals and several assists in the Copa Libertadores helped Nacional to reach the semi finals of the tournament. In April 2009 he was named 58th highest scorer in the world by the IFFHS following his performance in the Copa Libertadores
Lodeiro with Boca Juniors in 2016
Lodeiro played a vital role for Nacional in the 2008/2009 Copa Libertadores, which saw Nacional reach the Semi-finals. From then on, Lodeiro has been considered one of the best youth players in the country.
Lodeiro is well known for his ability to glide past players with ease, due to his speed, close control and dribbling ability. He is also a very energetic player and his fitness ensures excellent movement on the pitch. Lodeiro likes to come towards a player in order to receive the ball and subsequently take control of play. However, he also likes to move wide towards the flanks and can often be found on both sides of the pitch and operating in the middle during the course of the same game. Lodeiro is two footed but has a particularly lethal left foot shot and is dangerous from free kicks.
In January 2010, Lodeiro signed a contract with AFC Ajax until June 2012 with option of 2 more years. He joined his fellow Uruguayans Bruno Silva and his friend Luis Suárez at Ajax. His first appearance for Ajax was as a substitute in the match against FC Twente on 7 February 2010. He marked his first goal against Go Ahead Eagles with Ajax on 25 March in the KNVB Beker. Because of an injury he sustained during the World Cup he didn't play a single match for Ajax in the 2010/2011 Eredivisie season. He did however make 19 appearances for Ajax the following season, scoring twice in the regular season, and once against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League, all while helping Ajax to win their 31st league title.
On 20 July 2012 it was announced that Botafogo had signed Lodeiro to a four-year contract, taking the young midfielder over to Rio de Janeiro from AFC Ajax for an undisclosed fee. He was a key part of the squad that won the Campeonato Carioca in 2013 and qualified Botafogo for the 2014 Copa Libertadores after 18 years absent of the tournament. During his time with Botafogo, Lodeiro was part of Uruguay's 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.
On May 29, 2014, Lodeiro signed a four-year deal with Corinthians, for a R$4.5 million fee.
Lodeiro playing for Seattle Sounders in 2017
In 2015, Lodeiro signed with Argentinian club Boca Juniors. In September 2015, Lodeiro scored against River Plate in the Superclásico. On 4 November 2015, Lodeiro scored a penalty in the 2015 Copa Argentina Final helping Boca defeat Rosario Central 2–0, and secure their domestic double.
Seattle Sounders FC
In the summer of 2016 Lodeiro was widely rumored to be moving to the Seattle Sounders of MLS. In an interview at the Buenos Aires airport Lodeiro bid farewell to the Boca Juniors fans amid reports that he would join the Sounders pending his physical. He officially signed on July 27, 2016.
He made his debut July 31, 2016 starting in the midfield and going the full 90 minutes. Pundits soon began hailing the midfielder and hoping for better to come. The MLS website has an article in which it states "Lodeiro was quickly the hub for his team, notching 124 total touches, the fourth-highest total this season, in addition to making a whopping 94 passes, the most for Seattle and 14th most this season."
He scored his first goal for the Sounders on August 14, 2016 at home against Real Salt Lake in the 24th minute of a 2-1 win at Century Link Field.
Lodeiro was also instrumental to the Sounders MLS Cup run in 2016. He scored 6 goals as he led the team to the championship. In the MLS Cup Final, he notched a penalty kick to keep the Sounders hopes alive. Toronto then missed their next, and Roman Torres scored to win the first MLS Cup for the Sounders. When Lodeiro arrived, the Sounders were at the bottom of the league, but because of his ability to create and make others around him better, the Sounders were able to turn their season around.
Lodeiro playing for Uruguay in 2014
During 2009, Lodeiro also progressed on the international scene with good performances for the Uruguay under-20 national team. This included outstanding performances at a South American under-20 tournament in Venezuela where he scored three goals and led Uruguay to third place. He also contributed impressively at the FIFA under-20 tournament in Egypt, scoring two goals in four matches.
His senior international debut for Uruguay came against Costa Rica, in the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL 2010 World Cup Play-Off. He played both legs of the play-off and, in the second leg at home, was named player of the match for Uruguay.
Lodeiro played for Uruguay in the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals and, in Uruguay's opening match against France, was the first player to receive a red card at the tournament.
Lodeiro was a member of the Uruguay national team that won the 2011 Copa América in Argentina.
He was part of Uruguay's team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Lodeiro was a member of the Uruguay national team that participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He started two matches and came in as a substitute in a third.
Lodeiro was a member of the Uruguay national team that participated in the 2016 Copa América Centenario in the United States. Lodeiro started two matches and came in as a substitute in a third, acquiring one assist total.
In May 2018 he was named in Uruguay’s provisional 26 man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.