By Andres Roman
Lanus star Diego Valeri has affirmed that it would be a dream come true to lift the Copa Libertadores in 2012, as the Buenos Aires club maintain hopes of winning the first continental title in their history.
The talented central midfielder, 26, began his career in the Grana academy and in 2007 was part of the team that lifted the national championship for the first time ever, in that year's Apertura tournament. Loan spells at Porto and Almeria followed for the star, but he returned to his first club in 2011 and was instrumental as the side finished runners-up in the Clausura.
Lanus narrowly went down 2-1 to Vasco in the first leg of their Copa last-16 meeting on Wednesday, but Valeri still holds out hope that his team can surprise South America and win the title.
"It is a brilliant challenge. So far our performances in the Libertadores have overall been positive, and the situation we are in is something historic for the club. We have to live up to that," the midfielder explained to Goal.com.
"[It is a test] for us players and for the club. We would be registering yet another joyful moment into Lanus history. We are focused on our own work, and we believe we can make the quarter-finals."
The Lanus native failed to make much of an impression on European football during spells in Portugal and Spain, but since coming back to Lanus he has played three times for the national team and also been linked to several high-profile institutions. Valeri is insistent, however, that his future lies with his boyhood idols.
"I feel very comfortable here, and my goal is to play better here with every coming day. I was born in this club and I want to win everything with them, as much as possible. That is my objective," the player said.
And Valeri finished by stating that a Libertadores win would be a key step towards that goal.
"Of course, that would be a dream come true. Of course we know that it will be tough, every team competing wants to win as well. We are going to keep working and give our very best to make it happen."