MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Thursday that the club has reached an agreement with Italian forward Marco Di Vaio, who will become the club’s first Designated Player in Major League Soccer. He will officially join the club pending receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC), when the MLS secondary transfer window opens on June 27. As per MLS and club policy, details of the deal were not disclosed.
The Italian forward will arrive in Montreal on Sunday with his family, and will be presented at a press conference on Monday, May 28. Di Vaio just recently completed his season in Serie A with Bologna. He will join the Impact on June 16, and will be available once the transfer window opens on June 27. The club will work to make him available for his first game that day versus Toronto FC.
The club's first Designated Player
Di Vaio, 35, is one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of first division soccer in Italy, with 142 goals in 342 games played in Serie A, with Lazio, Bari, Salernitana, Parma, Juventus, Genoa and most recently Bologna, for the last four seasons.
“Since his departure from Bologna and the announcement that the he was considering an offer from the Impact, we continued to work hard at getting him to join our club. I’d like to congratulate Nick De Santis for this successful negotiation,” said Impact president Joey Saputo. “With all of the hard work and professionalism our club has shown over the years, we have signed today a player of the highest quality. We promised this city and the club’s supporters a Designated Player, and we are pleased to have been able to keep that promise.”
“The addition of this experienced player will help the club move forward,” declared sporting director Nick De Santis, who met Di Vaio in Italy in February. “His professionalism and his character will help the club grow. He was the catalyst behind Bologna’s success over the last four seasons, helping the club stay in Serie A.”
“We know he will bring a great element of attacking presence to our team,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “His nose for attacking plays and ability to score goals will make us a better team. We all look forward to him joining the group.”
Di Vaio very proud to join the Impact
“I am very proud to become a member of the Montreal Impact and to start this new phase of my career,” said Di Vaio. “I have accepted with great enthusiasm the challenge of joining an enticing championship like MLS. I am extremely eager to make the entire club proud, from the president to its supporters.”
“From a personal standpoint, I had a good feeling from our very first meeting in Bologna with the Impact president and sporting director," added Di Vaio. "They made my family and I feel good about this project in Montreal. It was not an easy choice to leave Bologna but I hope to be able to serve a similar role in Montreal, as I am prepared to give everything I have, including my experience and leadership for my coaches, my teammates and the organization.”
An impressive career in Italy, Spain and France
Di Vaio joined Bologna in August 2008 following its promotion to the first division. Captain of the club for the last two seasons, he scored 65 goals and added 18 assists in 143 regular season games played. In his first season with Bologna in 2008-2009, he finished as the league’s second leading scorer with 24 goals. He has also played five Coppa Italia matches.
In his last season in Serie A, Di Vaio finished as his team’s top scorer with 10 goals and seven assists in 37 matches (2,713 minutes), including a deuce in a 3-0 victory over Inter Milan on February 17.
Di Vaio started his career in Serie A in 1995 with Lazio of Rome, playing two years with his hometown team. He then went on to don the colours of Verona and Bari, in Italy’s second division. The following season, in 1997-1998 with Salernitana, he won the Golden boot in Serie B as the league’s leading scorer with 21 goals in 37 games. His efforts helped his side earn promotion to the first division.
The following year, he scored 12 goals in 30 games, and despite Salernitana’s relegation, he remained in Serie A by signing with Parma. In three seasons with the Gialloblù, he scored 41 goals in 81 games played, finishing third in league scoring in 2001-2002 with 20 goals, winning the Coppa Italia that same year.
Di Vaio was then sent to Juventus of Turin on loan for the sum of 7 million € before being officially sold in the summer of 2003 for 14 million €. In 2002-2003, he scored 18 goals in 55 games, winning the Italian championship. He also helped the team reach the Champions League final in 2003, scoring four goals in 11 matches.
He was then transferred to first division Spanish side Valencia for 10.5 million €, playing from 2004-2006, scoring 11 goals in 35 regular season games in Liga. He also played five Champions League games, scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Porto FC in the UEFA SuperCup in 2004.
Prior to joining Bologna, Di Vaio played with AS Monaco, in France’s Ligue 1, and with Genoa, in the first and second division in Italy.
On the international stage, Di Vaio scored two goals in 14 games played with the Italian National Team. He played a number of friendlies from 2001-2004, most notably against the U.S., Uruguay and Spain. He was also a member of Italy’s 2004 Euro squad, which included the Impact’s Bernardo Corradi and Matteo Ferrari. He also played in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2006.
Di Vaio was also a teammate of Ferrari’s at Parma and Corradi’s in Valencia.
He will wear the number 9 with the Impact.
MARCO DI VAIO
Weight: 172 lbs.
Birthdate: July 15, 1976, Rome, Italy
Place of residence: Bologna, Italy
Former club: Bologna (Italy)