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Diego Valeri signs contract extension with Portland Timbers

Diego Valeri’s multi-year contract extension pays him using Targeted Allocation Money

Apr 27, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (8) celebrates a goal against Toronto FC by Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (not pictured) at BMO Field. Portland defeated Toronto. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Diego Valeri’s contract dispute with the Portland Timbers officially ended Monday with the sides agreeing to a multi-year extension. 

Valeri the club’s captain and all-time leader in goals and assists — will remain in Portland on a new deal that will pay him using Targeted Allocation Money.

That means Valeri, who made $2.4 million in 2019 according to MLS Players Association figures, has accepted a pay cut of at least $1.1 million to remain at Providence Park.

Though the Timbers did not release additional contract details, TAM contracts are such that Valeri won’t be a Designated Player in 2020.

In September, ESPN reported Portland wanted to keep Valeri in 2020, but not as a DP. Valeri reportedly wanted an extension as well, but was unwilling to sign a TAM contract, as it requires a decrease in pay to about $1.5 million.

Nearly four months later, the impasse is now resolved. On Monday, Valeri posted a message of thanks to his personal Twitter account.

“You are unique and everything I can say in words is not enough to express the love, gratitude and respect I feel for you,” Valeri wrote. “I am privileged to play for you. Know that I left, leave and I will leave everything for these colors, where we find and join together. Thank you.”

In agreeing to new contract terms with the Argentine playmaker, the Timbers are keeping one of the league’s most prolific players of the past decade and freeing up a DP spot to shop for another game-changer.

Valeri, who joined the Timbers in 2013 on loan from Lanus before having his purchase option exercised, helped the club win 2015 MLS Cup against Columbus Crew SC and was also named the 2017 MLS MVP.

He is a three-time member of the MLS Best IX (2013, 2014, 2017), a four-time MLS All-Star (2014, 2016-18), and the 81 assists he’s notched since joining the Timbers in 2013 are the most in Major League Soccer over that period.

Valeri is the Timbers’ all-time leading scorer with 76 goals and ranks first in club history with shots (617) and shots on goal (228). He also ranks third in club history for appearance (211) and starts (202).

“Diego is a Timbers legend and we couldn’t be happier that he and his family will remain in the Rose City,” Timbers general manager and president Gavin Wilkinson said in a prepared statement. “Not only has Diego been a leader in MLS over his career, he has become a local icon who is tremendously important to the club, the fans and the city of Portland. We look forward to raising another Cup with him.”

Valeri is coming off a 2019 season in which he scored eight goals and contributed 16 assists, the second-most in MLS. He made 29 starts in 31 regular season appearances.

“Re-signing Diego was one of our priorities ahead of the upcoming season and we feel delighted to have been able to keep him in our roster,” added head coach Giovanni Savarese. “Diego is a unique player, both on and off the field, and his experience and leadership will help us to further extend the team’s winning culture.”

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