Leonardo was always going to return to the LA Galaxy in 2012, but the Galaxy have settled their long-term future with the defender now too, signing the Brazilian permanently from Sao Paulo after having him in 2010 and 2011 on a pair of one-year loans. The Leonardo news comes on the same day that the Galaxy also signed Juninho on another one-year loan from Sao Paulo, making them the clear favorites to win MLS Cup 2012 and defend their league title.
With Omar Gonzalez possibly out for the entire season as he recovers from a torn ACL, Leonardo is going to be crucial to the Galaxy's success in 2012. The problem is that Leonardo is recovering from a torn ACL of his own and Bruce Arena has acknowledged that he won't be 100% healthy until April. As good as Leonardo may have looked at times, he still has just 17 appearances in two years for LA so their security in the center of defense is far from assured.
The permanent signing of Leonardo also gives LA some badly needed youth at central defense. Take away the unproven rookies and you have a young A.J. DeLaGarza and Gonzalez, but the rest of the Galaxy central defenders are in their 30's. Getting the 23-year-old Leonardo signed long-term instead of on another one-year loan gives LA some stability in the defense for the future.