Toronto FC rewarded Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez with a new contract Wednesday.
The MLS champions tore up Vazquez’s old deal and added a year’s term to the new one.
It’s in keeping with other recent moves to lock up talent. Fullback Justin Morrow and centre back Chris Mavinga signed similar multi-year extensions in late February and early March, respectively.
Toronto had previously re-signed defenders Drew Moor and Eriq Zavaleta.
In his first season with the MLS club, Vazquez was named to the league’s Best XI as he helped trigger a potent Toronto attack. TFC went from scoring 51 goals in 2016 to a club-record 74 in 2017.
“Following the conclusion of the 2016 season, teams within MLS started to figure out they could sit back on us,” Toronto FC GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “It was critical for our group to find a top-level talent that could help unlock teams and put us over the top.
“Victor ultimately would become that piece helping us in our success last season in winning the treble. We are pleased to get this deal done so that Victor can help us defend our titles this season and beyond.”
The 31-year-old midfielder finished second in the league in assists with 16 including a league-leading six game-winning assists.
Vazquez collected 10 goals and 20 assists in 39 appearances in all competitions, including the insurance goal in Toronto’s 2-0 win over Seattle in the MLS Cup final. He also won MLS player of the week honours four times.
Smooth on the ball, Vazquez has the skills and vision to help unlock defences.
“He makes guys around him better,” TFC captain Michael Bradley said last season.
A product of the Barcelona youth system, Vazquez made his name with Club Brugge and was named Belgian Footballer of the Year for the 2014-15 season.
The Spaniard came to Toronto from Mexico’s Cruz Azul. He said his family was not happy in Mexico but has taken to Canada.
Vazquez earned US$ 700,00 last year, according to the MLS Players Association. That ranked fourth on the team, behind designated players Sebastian Giovinco, Bradley and Jozy Altidore.
A back issue has limited the Spaniard’s play so far this season. He was forced to leave in the 53rd minute of Toronto’s season-opening loss to Columbus on March 3.