"Maranon leaves United City Football Club"

Originally published by Manila Times Online

NATURALIZED Filipino striker Bienvenido Marañon announced on Thursday that he is leaving the United City Football Club (UCFC) to play for another club in Asia.

"It's time to move forward and step up in my career as a professional football player. I will leave the country where I found happiness and the team United City that made me a better player and a better person," wrote Marañon in a Twitter post.

"I'm thankful to Eric (Eric Gottschalk, UCFC owner) and the management, and also thankful to Ceres Negros FC owner (Leo Rey Yanson) that was the person who gave me the chance to come to Philippines almost seven years ago."

Marañon, who hails from Spain, said that he is only waiting for his travel pass to go to a country, which he did not identify, and start training with his new team there.

"I'm waiting for my travel pass to travel to my next destination. I can only leave the Philippines to go to the best club in Asia and I will do it," said the 35-year-old striker.

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"Can't wait to travel and start training with them. I will keep working to give you back the love, support and help during my time with the Philippine Azkals. It's not goodbye, it's see you later."

While UCFC is set to lose the services of the 2020 Philippines Football League (PFL) Golden Boot awardee, it wishes Marañon the best of luck in the next phase of his career.

"UCFC would like to congratulate Bienve Marañon on his well-deserved career move and thank him for his services to the Club as a decorated player and co-captain," wrote the reigning PFL champion squad in a Facebook post on Thursday.

"While it's sad to see him leave at this time, it opens great opportunities for UCFC in preparation for the 2022 season. Best of luck, Bienve, and stay safe and healthy."

Marañon first came in the Philippines in 2015 to play for Ceres Negros FC which he helped lead to three straight PFL titles from 2017 to 2019 — the 2017 Asean Zonal Champions in the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup and the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara.

When Ceres rebranded to United City under a new ownership, the 5-foot-8 Marañon was still around and was one of the major driving forces of the team that won the 2020 PFL season.

Marañon, the all-time leading AFC Cup scorer with 35 goals, eventually became a naturalized Filipino in 2021 and played for the Philippine Azkals in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup last December, scoring four goals for the national squad which finished with a 2-2 win-loss card.

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