Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri is on his way back to his native Argentina after the club transferred the midfielder to Club Atletico Lanus, ending his accomplished nine-year run in MLS.
Valeri was the MLS MVP in 2017 and helped the Timbers to three MLS Cup appearances, including a title in 2015. Portland played host to the 2021 MLS Cup, losing to New York City FC on penalty kicks after each team scored a goal in regulation time.
"I do not believe there has been a more impactful Designated Player signing in the history of MLS than Diego Valeri," Timbers owner and CEO Merritt Paulson said in a release. "... In Portland, he has meant everything to us on the pitch and in the community. While one chapter ends today, this is not the end of Diego Valeri in Portland."
Valeri, who is joining the club he rooted for in his youth, is expected to become a Timbers ambassador when his professional playing days are complete.
Valeri, 35, played one season at Porto in Portugal and one more at Almeria in Spain before joining the Timbers for the 2013 season. He recorded 86 goals and 91 assists in 262 games (230 starts) and had a career-best 21 goals with 11 assists in 32 games during his MVP season.
"He's a player that since he came to Major League Soccer, he showed his quality," Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese said, according to mlssoccer.com. "He made this league a better league. He made the Portland Timbers be what it is. And he's shown all his quality, he's played always with so much passion and he's done a fantastic job to have been an extremely important player for this organization. He's a legend for Portland."
--Field Level Media