WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 1, 2024) - D.C. United have signed midfielder Gabriel Pirani, from Santos FC in the Brazilian Série A. The Black-and-Red activated the option to buy Pirani following the conclusion of his loan on Dec. 31, 2023. Pirani signed a two-year deal through 2025 with options in 2026 and 2027. Pirani will occupy a U-22 Initiative spot on the roster.
“We are excited to sign Gabriel [Pirani] permanently after an impressive loan stint with us last season,” Ally Mackay, D.C. United General Manager and Chief Soccer Officer, said. “We saw glimpses of Pirani’s playmaking abilities last year and we believe he has a high ceiling for development in this league. He is a very technical midfielder who has the ability to unlock defenses with his vision, technical ability, and passing range. We’re looking forward to welcoming him back to the team ahead of preseason.”
The Brazilian officially joins the Black-and-Red after spending the beginning of the 2023 season on loan with Fluminense in the Brazilian Série A. There he appeared in 24 matches scoring two goals across all competitions and won the 2023 Copa Libertadores. Pirani spent the latter part of the 2023 season on loan with D.C. United, where he scored one goal in 10 appearances. He scored his lone goal on Sept. 20 in the 85th minute helping secure a 1-1 league draw against Atlanta United FC at Audi Field. Pirani would finish the season with 18 successful dribbles, 38 recoveries, and an 84.6% passing accuracy for D.C. United.
The 21-year-old midfielder is a product of the Santos FC Academy where he joined at the age of 10. After rising through the ranks, he signed with the first team in 2021 and made his professional debut on Feb. 25, 2021 as a 46th minute substitute in a 2-0 league loss to Esporte Clube Bahia. Pirani scored his first professional goal the following match on Feb. 28, 2021 in a 2-2 tie against EC Santo André. The São Paulo native spent the 2022 season on loan at Cuiabá Esporte Clube in the Brazilian Série A. In one season with Cuiabá Esporte Clube, he made 10 appearances and scored one goal before returning to Santos FC at the end of 2022. Pirani has played a total of 77 matches for Santos FC, scoring five goals and recording five assists across all competitions.
Pirani represented Brazil at the 2023 Pan American Games, an international tournament showcasing the world's top U-22 players in the Americas, and helped his nation win Gold. Two D.C. United Homegrowns, Ted Ku-DiPietro and Jackson Hopkins, also featured in the tournament for team USA. Pirani faced his Black-and-Red teammates in their opening match on Oct. 23 in a 1-0 group stage win. He scored a goal in a 2-0 win over Colombia en route to the final where they defeated Chile 4-2 in penalty kicks. Pirani ended the tournament with one goal, having started all five of Brazil’s matches. He helped his country win five of five in the tournament and brought home their fifth gold medal in Pan American Games history.
Birthplace: Penápolis, São Paulo
Weight: 157 lbs
Transaction: D.C. United have signed Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Pirani from Santos FC.