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Portland Timbers' soccer icon pens poetic, heartfelt tweet on the day his departure is announced.

PMG PHOTO:JAIME VALDEZ - After nine seasons as the face of the Portland Timbers, Diego Valeri penned a thank-you tweet to Portland and the Timbers' supporters.Here is Diego Valeri's message, posted to his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 20, shortly after his departure from The Portland Timbers became official:

"As I child I was given a football. It taught me almost everything I know about the world. I've lost many times, but it never betrayed me.

It sometimes bounces, and while flying it takes me with it. It flew so high once that it went into the clouds and met Portland's rain.

I've walked through the streets and down the bridges of this city for eight long winters, trying to learn your language and beat the cold of loneliness.

Again, the football helped us speak the universal language — that of joy when playing and of love. I woke up to see that I was loved already, and so was my family. How can I thank you enough?

I promised myself to wear out the sole of my cleats so as to give you more joy than gloom. I wanted to see you celebrate, at least for a while, in this life that sometimes turns a bit grey among the sky-high trees that hide the sunshine. We can bring happiness to a lot of people with just a football.

I looked at all of you, I can still feel the smoke of your flares in my lungs and the chips of the logs in my hands, the tune of your songs in my ears and the scarves on my neck. I fought with dignity to carry our colors to the highest peaks. Your champion belts became my highest honor. Just as the trophies won as a team will remain in the stadium, I wish my goals to remain in your souls. Set the tears aside, because this game is always giving us surprises.

Oh, yes, football, love and soccer are always big news. In fact, throughout these years you showed me something I had never imagined in this career: I can feel the happiness of those who play along with me from the outside, no matter what may be happening on the field. It's just a matter of being there in front of you. I'm seeing you now, wearing this jersey for the last time. The sky is grey, but you make me happy."

— Diego Valeri


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