Portland Timbers Transfer MLS Legend Diego Valeri to Argentina’s Lanús

Diego Valeri is heading home…

The 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and Portland Timbers midfielder  is heading home to Argentina.

Diego Valeri

The Portland Timbers have announced an agreement with Lanus for the transfer of the 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer and former Major League Soccer (MLS) MVP.

Lanus plays in Argentina’s top division.

A nine-year veteran of the Timbers, Valeri scored 100 goals and 104 assists in 306 matches across all competitions.

He’s the team regular season leader for both goals (86) and assists (91). Valeri is just the third player in MLS history to reach 80 goals and 80 assists in regular-season play. He was named the MLS Cup‘s Most Valuable Player in 2015 when the Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew for the league championship.

In 2017, he was honored as the league MVP after scoring 21 goals with 11 assists. He was a five-time MLS All-Star and in 2020 was named one of the league’s 25 greatest players.

“I do not believe there has been a more impactful Designated Player signing in the history of MLS than Diego Valeri,” Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said in a statement. “He changed what clubs looked for in a DP — not a brand to put fans in the seats and sell sponsorships, but a rising European level talent who chose to make America his home and legacy.”

Valeri also became a beloved member of the Portland community, known for painting playrooms for foster children and jumping into pickup futsal games. Valeri and his family were ardent supporters of the Portland Thorns, the National Women’s Soccer League team. Valeri is a product of the Lanus academy, which he joined at age 9. He went on to play 158 matches with the senior team from 2003-13.

In addition to the transfer, the Timbers and Lanus agreed to a testimonial match in Portland next year, during which Valeri will play a half for each team. Details were not yet announced.

Upon his retirement, Valeri will become an ambassador for the Timbers.

Jonathan dos Santos Joins Liga MX Side Club America

Jonathan dos Santos is headed back to his home country…

The 31-year-old Mexican professional footballer and former LA Galaxy captain has joined Club America, the Liga MX side announced on Thursday.

Jonathan dos Santos

The deal would be for two years, according to ESPN reports, with the Mexico City side announcing on Thursday that the El Tri star had officially joined the team.

The Liga MX Clausura season kicks off on January 7. Las Aguilas finished atop the regular season table of the recently completed Apetura campaign but were ousted in the playoffs, with Atlas winning the title.

Dos Santos was a free agent after the Galaxy stated in late November that it had parted ways with the former designated player.

“I feel I’m in pretty good shape. I am 31 years old. People say that I am coming to retire here; that’s not true. I still have a lot to give in my career and to this club. I am hungry. I want to win titles with América and make the fans happy,” Dos Santos said.

During his time with the Galaxy that started in 2017, Dos Santos made 103 appearances for the club and was selected as an MLS All-Star in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In his last two years, injuries took a toll on regular appearances.

The move to Liga MX is a first for Dos Santos, who has previously also played in LaLiga for Barcelona and Villarreal. Jonathan’s older brother Giovani, currently a free agent, previously played for Club America before being dropped over the summer.

“Since I was a kid, I dreamed that one day I would play in America. My father played here, Gio too, the Dos Santos’ already made history in this club,” Dos Santos said. “My dad always told us, you have to play for America, you have to fulfill that dream. It’s the best team in Mexico. I left the country 20 years ago, so having the opportunity to return and play for the best team is a big honor for me.”

Dos Santos’ move to Club America comes two days after fellow El Tri teammate Sebastian Cordova left Las Aguilas for Tigres UANL.

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez Headed to Saudi Pro League’s Al-Nassr FC

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez is headed to the Middle East…

Atlanta United FC have transferred the 27-year-old Argentine soccer player, an MLS All-Star midfielder, to Al-Nassr FC of the Saudi Pro League.

Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez

The transfer fee wasn’t disclosed. The transaction opens a designed player spot and an international spot on United’s 2020 roster.

Martinez tallied two goals and two assists in seven MLS matches this season. He added two goals and two assists in three games in Champions League competition.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2019, he was named an MLS All-Star with five goals and nine assists and helped the team win the U.S. Open Cup and the Campeones Cup.

“We want to thank Pity for his contributions to our club for the past two years,” said Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “He will forever be a part of Atlanta United’s history after playing an integral part in our 2019 season in which we lifted two trophies. We’ll look to be diligent in our efforts to fill that roster spot during this window.”

The native of Argentina transferred from River Plate and joined Atlanta as a designated player on January 24, 2019.