Checking in on Alexander Callens

-Alexander Callens is a NYCFC legend

-He was given an opportunity to give Europe a try again, but how is the defender doing?

Alexander Callens, formerly of NYCFC
Alexander Callens, formerly of NYCFC / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Alexander Callens departed New York City FC after the 2022 season to join Valentín Castellanos at Girona FC for the second half of the 2022/23 season. However, things did not go as planned for him, with a lack of playing time since leaving the Big Apple. Callens was one of the core players to help the Boys in Blue lift the MLS Cup back in 2021. Therefore, fans still hold a special place in their hearts for the Peruvian. 

Callens struggled to fit in with his new Girona teammates despite linking up with Castellanos. He dropped to about sixth on the depth chart, resulting in just six appearances off the bench. His longest time on the pitch was against Cadiz during a 2-0 loss, where he saw 45 minutes off the bench while only logging in three clearances. Since then, the former NYCFC player saw 72 minutes of playing time, failing to make a start during his stint with Girona. 

How is Alexander Callens doing this season?

This prompted the team to send him on loan to Super League Greece 1 side AEK Athens F.C. in Greece. The club won its 13th league title last season and their first since 2018, which qualified them for the UEFA Europa League tournament. 

Because Callens arrived at the club late, he was not eligible to play in the Europa League. However, he has been seeing more playing time on the pitch, making a start in all 11 appearances in league play this season. He’s also been averaging about 83 minutes per match while seeing consistent playing time at center-back.  

AEK Athens currently sits in third place in the table and is just two points away from first place as the title race seems to be between three teams: Athens, Panathinaikos F.C., and PAOK Thessaloniki. Though the loan ends in June, his future after this season remains a mystery, depending on whether Girona decides to keep the NYCFC legend.  

However, the chances of him returning to the Catalan city do not look great as Girona currently sits atop the La Liga table while already having a core defense arsenal that includes Daley Blind, Miguel Gutiérrez, Eric García, and Arnau Martínez. Callens could see himself with another club next season unless Athens decides to keep him on a permanent deal.  

Nevertheless, the defender continues to serve his country like he did throughout his time with NYCFC. He made two appearances with Peru in friendly matches against both South Korea and Japan back in June. He was also active during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers during the September, October, and November international windows. Callens made four appearances for Peru, including two starts. However, things are not looking good for Peru at the moment as they sit in last place, failing to win a qualifying match while picking up two draws and four losses. 

Callens is missed by New York City FC. It is good to see he is starting to find success in Europe.