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Revolution playmaker Carles Gil is named Major League Soccer’s MVP

The elusive Carles Gil (right) was difficult for opponents to contain this season.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Major League Soccer teams only recently began seriously delving into the transfer market, and the purchases have been paying off. The league MVPs from 2018-20 came relatively cheap: Josef Martinez ($4.95 million), Carlos Vela ($5.5 million), and Alejandro Pozuelo ($10 million).

This year’s MVP, Revolution midfielder Carles Gil, proved an even better bargain, acquired on a $2 million transfer from Deportivo La Coruna.

Gil, who was officially named MVP Tuesday, led the league with 18 assists and choreographed the league’s most productive offense (65 goals) as the Revolution compiled the best record in league history (22-5-7, 73 points).

“Really, it is a great individual award, it is difficult to win these awards, and it means a lot,” said Gil, who was informed of the honor during a team gathering at a Seaport restaurant last week. “It was a surprise, but it was a very beautiful moment to be with my teammates when I found out. That’s the first thing — is an individual award, but it is about all of us together.”

The Revolution also earned awards for Coach of the Year (Bruce Arena), Goalkeeper of the Year (Matt Turner), and Comeback Player of the Year (Gil).


After Gil arrived in 2019, the Revolution upped the transfer stakes, dishing out $10.7 million for forwards Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa to complement his playmaking. And the trio proved effective, with Buksa (16 goals) and Bou (15 goals) finishing as the top forward scoring combination in the league.

Their offensive output helped the Revolution clinch a playoff berth by Sept. 22, but they came up short in the postseason, losing to New York City FC on penalty kicks after playing to a 2-2 tie last week.

Carles Gil capped off a picture-perfect season with MLS MVP honors Tuesday.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

“I’m thinking more about the great season we had as days go by,” Gil said during an emotional press conference at Gillette Stadium Tuesday. “I think about New York, but I value the regular season more. We showed how hard it is to win games in MLS, and for me it’s great to be a part of this collection of players.


“I think we improved as a team, we had a spectacular season, we set a record for points. The reality is we weren’t able do what we wanted to in the playoffs against New York. We did not advance, and it’s too bad. We couldn’t attack like we like to; credit them for some of that.

“Despite that, we showed that we were a difficult team to beat, like we were all year, and in the end, penalties is a lottery. We couldn’t take advantage in the last five minutes when they were down one [Valentin Castellanos was red-carded in the 113th minute].

“But I think we should be very proud of what we did during the entire year. It was a very positive season. We’re ambitious and we want to do it again next year.”

The Revolution went down firing as Buksa’s last-minute breakaway was saved against NYCFC. But their all-out attacking style would not have been nearly as effective without Gil setting things up from the wings in a free-ranging role.

Gil’s combination of skill and vision keyed a highlight-filled season, helping develop players such as Tajon Buchanan into a scoring threat as well as a transfer target (Buchanan joined Club Brugge on a $7 million deal after the season).


Gil became the second ex-Valencia CF player, after David Villa (2016), and third Spaniard, after Villa and Pozuelo, to be named MVP. Seven US players have captured the MVP award, which is named for Landon Donovan (2009 winner), including the Revolution’s Taylor Twellman (2005).

Carles Gil led the league with 18 assists this season.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

But Gil, who played two seasons for Aston Villa, had doubts about his prospects with the Revolution when he was being recruited two years ago.

“I tell you, it wasn’t an easy decision for me, to leave Spain, my country, to go to a league I didn’t know,” Gil said. “I went back and forth on it and it wasn’t easy. But looking back, I’m very happy about the decision I made. And over time, everything that has happened proves I was right.

“I’m very happy here with my teammates and the city. I’ve been able to really enjoy the futbol and get the most out of everything. We just finished the season, but we are really motivated to start the next season. We talked about it and we’re really optimistic about next year.”