Sporting Kansas City acquired Spanish midfielder Cristian Lobato in a transfer from Spanish side Gimnastic de Tarragona in June 2017. Lobato has signed an MLS contract through 2018 with an option for 2019.
Lobato has made more than 150 professional appearances since 2008, including a two-year stint at FC Barcelona B where he was teammates with current Sporting KC midfielder Ilie from 2011-2013. The midfielder spent four years at FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy before ending his youth career at Spanish outfit CE L’Hospitalet.
2018: MLS regular season: Has started three of seven appearances, scored two goals and contributed to three shutouts (327 minutes played). Opened his MLS scoring account in a historic 6-0 hammering of Vancouver Whitecaps FC on April 20. Scored his second goal in a 4-1 win over Minnesota United FC on June 3. Open Cup: Started and played 68 minutes in a 2-0 fourth-round win over Real Salt Lake on June 6.
2017: MLS Regular Season: Started six of 10 appearances and scored one goal (547 minutes played). Made his MLS debut as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire on July 29. Earned his first start for the club in a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United FC on Aug. 6. Scored his first MLS goal in a 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew SC on Sept. 11. Open Cup: Did not feature. MLS Cup Playoffs: Played 20 minutes as an extra-time substitute in a 1-0 loss at the Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 26.
Lobato earned his senior team debut for Hospitalet in 2008 and played over 80 league matches across three seasons, notably helping the club win a Tercera Division title in 2009-10 and promotion to the Segunda Division B. He then joined Ilie at FC Barcelona B of the Segunda Division, scoring eight goals in 57 games. Lobato’s two-year spell at FC Barcelona included a preseason appearance for the senior team in July 2011, where he was in the same squad as Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and David Villa.
In February 2014, Lobato made his top-flight debut for CA Osasuna and ended the 2013-14 La Liga campaign with 12 appearances. He then left Spain for the first time, helping Asteras Tripoli to a fourth-place finish in the 2014-15 Superleague Greece.
A return to Spain saw Lobato join Gimnastic, where he has spent each of the last two seasons in the Segunda Division. He played 49 matches for the club across all competitions as Gimnastic nearly earned promotion to La Liga with a third-place finish in 2015-16.