Carl Valeri is set to sign with the Melbourne Victory.Socceroos veteran Carl Valeri has signed a three-year deal with A-League club Melbourne after completing a medical on Tuesday.
It ends the midfielder’s 11-year stint in Italy, where he fell narrowly short of realising his dream of playing in the Serie A – Italy’s top flight.
The 29-year-old always planned to return to Australia at an age when he could contribute, rather than just to cash in during the twilight of his career.
His wife is originally from Victoria, which makes Melbourne a perfect fit for Valeri and his young family.
He sustained a dreadful ankle injury during his 50th game for the Socceroos – against South Korea in November 2012 – and spent more than a year on the sidelines.
“I’ve certainly watched and admired the A-League from afar,” Valeri said.
“The league just keeps getting better and better each season and I’m really looking forward to being back home and playing in a competition that has such great potential.
“You just to have to look at all the quality young players over in Brazil with the Socceroos to see how far the game has come in this country.
“A lot of those boys started their professional careers in the A-League, and that speaks volumes.
“The opportunity to join Melbourne Victory and work with [coach] Kevin [Muscat] was one I certainly couldn’t pass up and I can’t wait for pre-season training to get under way.”
Valeri joined Italian giant Inter Milan as a teenager, but couldn’t crack their Serie A side.
After years playing in the second-tier Serie B, Valeri finally looked like making it when Sassuolo was promoted to the top flight for the 2013-14 season.
But when he was finally over his ankle injury, Sassuolo couldn’t guarantee him game time and he opted to move to Serie B’s Ternana during the January transfer window, where he helped them avoid relegation.
Now he’ll join the Victory, where fellow Canberran Tom Rogic was on loan from Scottish giant Celtic last season.
Muscat said Valeri’s expertise on the pitch wasn’t the only asset Victory were getting.
“Carl has a wealth of football experience and will be a very valuable addition to our club and we can’t wait to see him in Victory colours,” Muscat said.
“Carl is a versatile midfielder and I have no doubt he will have an impact on the A-League and we are very much looking forward to his leadership around the club also.”
Valeri is back to full fitness and while he’s missed out on Ange Postecoglou’s squad for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, his move to the A-League could still re-ignite his Socceroos career.
The Asian Cup will be held in Australia, including games in Canberra, next summer and if Valeri finds form at Victory then he could add to his 50 international caps.
”I am back at full fitness and looking forward to the next challenge … maybe [playing for Australia at the Asian Cup] can happen, but there’s work to do between now and then,” he told SBS’s The World Game last week.
The Melbourne Victory didn’t return Fairfax Media’s calls.