Costa Rica international Christian Bolaños (#7) joined the Vancouver Whitecaps on January 20, 2016. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, Canada -- Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced Wednesday the acquisition of Costa Rica international Christian Bolaños from Saprissa and signed him to a multi-year contract. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Most recently, the 31-year-old midfielder helped the Costa Rican power to the 2015 Invierno crown.
"Christian is a proven winner," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "He's a player we've coveted for a while and we're delighted to add his wealth of experience to our club. Christian is a natural winger and we expect him to complement our young attacking players very well."
Bolaños began his career during the 2001-02 season with Saprissa, winning three Costa Rican league titles (2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07), the 2003 Copa Interclubes UNCAF, and the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup. In the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup, he was named the Bronze Ball recipient after Saprissa finishe third in the competition.
The 5-foot-9 midfielder moved to Europe in July 2007, joining Denmark's Superliga side Odense Boldklub for two seasons, followed by two seasons with Norway's IK Start, and four seasons with Denmark's FC Copenhagen.
With Copenhagen, Bolaños won the Danish Superliga in 2010-11 and 2011-12 and the Danish Cup in 2011-12, make 141 appearances and scoring 18 goals. In 22 UEFA Champions League games, he netted three goals and also had 10 outings in the UEFA Europa League.
Prior to his second spell with Saprissa, Bolaños split the 2014-15 season with Al-Gharafa of the Qatar Stars League and Costa Rican side Cartagines.
For Costa Rica, he has earned 60 caps, while competing in two FIFA World Cups (2006, 2014). During Brazil 2014, Bolaños appeared in all five matches, including four starts, as the Ticos advanced to the quarterfinal before falling to the Netherlands in a shootout. He also represented the Central American nation in three CONCACAF Gold Cups (2005, 2007, 2011) and a FIFA U-17 World Cup (2001).
"I'm very excited to join Whitecaps FC," said Bolaños, who appeared in one game for Saprissa in the 2015-16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. "This is a new challenge for me and a big responsibility. I look forward to meeting my new teammates and getting training started for the new season. My goal is to help this club win a championship."
Bolaños has come on as a substitute in Costa Rica’s first two qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, wins over Haiti (1-0) and Panama (2-1).