Diego Valeri Q&A: Argentine comes to Portland
New Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri comes to Portland with a wealth of experience and a burning desire to learn. A veteran of Argentine Primera División side Lanús, Valeri captained the team in their 2011 Clausura runner-up campaign. He was also on loan to the famous Portugese side Porto in 2009, helping them win the Portugese Cup and spent time with Spain's UD Almería. Silky smooth on the ball with a creative flair in the middle of the pitch, Valeri is eager to make his mark in Portland and MLS.
In an interview at JELD-WEN Field last week while he was in Portland to sign his contract papers and go through medical exams, we spoke briefly about how Portland initially came on his radar, what type of player he is, and his initial impressions of his new home city.
How did Portland come on to your radar? What made you decide to come here?
Diego Valeri: The Portland Timbers saw some matches in Argentina and they started following me and tracking me. Then they communicated that the club was interested and reached out to me.
Are you familiar with the supporter’s culture here and have you see any Timbers matches? What has been your impression?
DV: The last time I saw some matches on the web, I saw the fans, the team and was so fascinated by the passion, the stadium, for the league. I’m very happy to come here.
Have you spoken to Caleb Porter and what is he looking from you to contribute?
DV: I talked with Caleb and he told me what he was expecting from me both on the field and off the field. We share the same ideas on how to play.
What type of player do you consider yourself?
DV: A number ten--a midfielder who is creative, providing assists; I like scoring goals, making plays. These are my characteristics. A modern number ten.
You’ve played in Argentina, Portugal, Spain. How do you see that international experience helping your game now that you’re coming to the United States?
DV: I’m always learning. I like to learn. All the experiences of the past help me in the present. Everything that I have learned in the past will help me in this country. This is my philosophy.
What are your initial impressions of Portland as a city?
DV: Amazing. So beautiful. Today, I had my physical exams and we traveled all around the city. It is amazing. All the forests! It’s beautiful.