Nelson Valdez headed back to native Paraguay after Seattle Sounders stint

Former Seattle Sounders forward Nelson Valdez is headed back his native Paraguay after a season and a half as Designated Player in the Emerald City.

Valdez signed a deal with Paraguayan club Cerro Porteño on Wednesday, the official end to the veteran forward's time in Seattle after the Sounders opted not to pick up his contract option at the close of 2016.

Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said last month that Valdez would have to take “a massive salary cut” to stay in Seattle after the club opted not to renew his existing contract.

“It was something he wasn’t able to contemplate at the time,” Lagerwey said. “It seemed like it was going to be very difficult to find an agreement. The cut we were asking him to take was very large.”

Valdez, 33, scored one goal in 31 regular season appearances for the Sounders after signing as a DP midway through the 2015 season. He emerged as a surprising hero during the team’s run to the MLS Cup last year, however, scoring two goals and adding an assist in six postseason games.

Valdez originally hails from Caagazu, Paraguay and has earned 76 caps for the Parguayan national team. He left Paraguay at 18 years old to pursue a career that ultimately led him to stints in Germany, Greece, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Spain before landing in Seattle in 2015.