PORTLAND, Ore. — Longtime Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri is leaving Portland and returning to Lanus, the Argentinian club where he started his career, team sources have confirmed to KGW.
The news was first reported Monday by Tom Bogert of MLSsoccer.com. Bogert reported that the Timbers and Lanus have agreed in principle to the transfer of Valeri. He said the deal isn't complete but "has reached the final stages."
The Timbers will receive a transfer fee of approximately $175,000 for Valeri and be absolved from his cap hit in 2022, Bogert reported. Valeri’s contract with the Timbers was scheduled to expire after the 2022 season.
Before coming to the Timbers in 2013, Valeri, a native of Argentina, made 158 appearances for Lanus. He's had an illustrious career with the Timbers, leading the club to an MLS Cup victory in 2015, where he was named the game's MVP. He was the league MVP in 2017 and a four-time all-star.
This past season, Valeri, who turns 36 in May, saw his role diminish with the Timbers. He started just 10 matches for Portland and had two goals and one assist during the 2021 regular season. Valeri saw limited time in the Timbers' playoff run.
Leading up to the Timbers' appearance in the MLS Cup championship match in December, reports surfaced indicating this could be Valeri's final season in Portland. After the Timbers' loss in the title match, Portland head coach Giovanni Saverese was asked about Valeri.
"He's a player that since he came to Major League Soccer, he showed his quality," Savarese said. "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."
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