Classy to the end: Retiring Victory captain Valeri bows out with praise for 'fantastic' Sydney
Sunday’s 6-1 Semi Final mauling at the hands of Sydney FC was not the way Melbourne Victory skipper Carl Valeri would have imagined ending his Hyundai A-League career.
A man who made his name through elegant control of the midfield, Valeri was a mere bystander in the face of a Sky Blues whirlwind, which ripped Victory apart and shredded their hopes of progressing to next Sunday's decider.
But in a measure of the 34-year-old’s class, the former Caltex Socceroo offered no excuses for one of the worst nights in Victory’s history.
Instead, he vowed to play his part in ensuring a result of similar magnitude would never occur again.
“Sydney FC outclassed us in every aspect. They taught us a big lesson tonight,” Valeri told FOX Sports post-match.
“Unfortunately, it’s the last lesson that I’ll learn, but one that I’ll try and pass on to the younger players.
“We were disappointing, but they were fantastic. I don’t want to take anything away from them. This year they deserve to go to the Grand Final.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it. When you cop six, almost seven, probably could’ve been more… there’s lots of areas to improve.
“What I am going to do is take a lot of lessons and hopefully pass it on to the future generations. We’ve worked hard all season and to go out like this is hard.”
Valeri spent a decade of his career in Italy with the likes of Grosseto and Sassuolo before returning to Australia and winning two Hyundai A-League Championships (2014/15, 2017/18), one Premiership (2014/15) and an FFA Cup (2015) with Victory.
The midfielder called time on a stellar career in April. He still has a chance to finish on a high when Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima come to Victoria on Wednesday May 22 for the final match of Victory's AFC Champions League campaign.