Marcos Senna: “Gio really brought out the best in us as players and as human beings.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

Three of the biggest names in the Cosmos’ recent history, Raul, Marcos Senna and Juan Arango, lauded their former coach, Giovanni Savarese.

The Cosmos announced Wednesday that Savarese would be leaving the North American Soccer League team.

Savarese will join the Portland Timbers as its new head coach, succeeding Caleb Porter, according to sources. His appointment could be announced as early as Thursday.

Raúl, a former standout with Real Madrid and Spain’s national team, helped the Cosmos capture the 2015 NASL title.

“Gio will always be a special person for me,” he said. “After almost one year of conversations, he convinced me to start a new journey with the Cosmos in 2015. Not only did Gio lead us to win The Championship that year, but he also got us to be a family and gave us memories I will never forget. Gio is a very hard-working person, with a great heart. He loves what he does and is passionate about being a head coach. I wish him all the success in the world. He deserves it.”

Senna, the cornerstone of two Cosmos’ NASL championships sides (2013 and 2015), is a former Spanish international as well.

“I will never forget Gio and my time with the Cosmos,” he said. “My first season, Gio really brought out the best in us as players and as human beings. What he did was not only difficult, but also remarkable because it was the team’s first year back. I wish Gio nothing but the best in future endeavors and feel confident he will continue to prove himself as one of the top coaches in America.”

A Venezuelan international, Arango enjoyed an outstanding season with New York in 2016, leading the side to the NASL crown while earning MVP honors.

“I’ve known Gio for many years,” he said. “We played together when I first started my career and I will always be grateful to him, as he has taught me and guided me throughout my whole career. He has been, without a doubt, one of the best head coaches I’ve ever had and I have no doubt he will continue to be successful in everything he does.”