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By ESPN Staff

D.C. United release Marcelo Gallardo

D.C. United announced Friday that Argentine World Cup veteran Marcelo Gallardo will be leaving MLS and returning to former club River Plate.

"We've reached an agreement with Marcelo to let him go back to Argentina and finish his career, basically releasing him from his obligations," said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper on the club's Web site. "He is now free to sign and finish his career down south."

Gallardo was United's first-ever designated player but never really settled in with D.C. during an injury-riddled 2008 campaign. Gallardo played in only 15 games and registered four goals and three assists.

"We thought that he [Gallardo] was coming back, but he had some last-minute thoughts," said Kasper. "I am sure part of it is that he had a couple clubs interested in him, and at the end of the day, we all know where he started and where he wanted to finish up. I think that became much more of a possibility over the past few days."

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