After 5 years with club, Albert Rusnak won't return to Real Salt Lake

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SANDY — Since he began the offseason negotiating with Real Salt Lake's front office for a possible return to the club, Albert Rusnak has contacted what feels like every club in Major League Soccer for his next stop.

On Saturday, the fifth-year RSL midfielder and team captain confirmed one of the biggest changes of the 2022 offseason: He won't be returning to Sandy.

The 27-year-old Slovakian international made the announcement on his Instagram page, thanking RSL fans and supporters for his five seasons with the Major League Soccer side.

"I want to take the time to let everyone know that the last 5 years playing in front of you and representing the Claret-and-Cobalt has truly been an honor," Rusnak wrote.

"My time at Real Salt Lake is done and while it is now time to say goodbye, please know that I will cherish our memories, how we overcame many obstacles, in the face of immeasurable odds."

The announcement comes just two days after RSL formally changed ownership, with European investor and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner David Blitzer joining Qualtrics co-founder and Utah Jazz majority owner Ryan Smith in a $400-million-plus bid to buy the franchise from Dell Loy Hansen.

Rusnak joined Real Salt Lake from Eredivisie side FC Groningen prior to the 2017 season, taking the No. 11 jersey from club legend Javier Morales and going on to a remarkable career in Utah in his own right. He finished his debut season with 14 assists, the fourth-best mark in the league, then scored at least 10 goals in each of his second and third campaigns with Salt Lake.

Rusnak finishes his RSL career with 140 appearances, including 135 starts, with 41 goals and 39 assists — including a prolific 11-goal, 11-assist double-double in 2021 in helping Real Salt Lake to the Western Conference finals.

The Slovakian international told reporters he'd "love to stay in Utah" after the season. But when RSL didn't re-sign the designated player following the season, Rusnak began contacting other teams. First linked with a move to the Seattle Sounders, the Slovakian international also has had reported interest from DC United, the LA Galaxy and other targets outside of MLS during #RusnakWatch.

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