MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Thursday that the club has come to terms with Italian defender Alessandro Nesta, who played 20 years in Italy’s first division and who won the FIFA World Cup in 2006. He will officially join the roster upon receiving his International Transfer Certificate (ITC). As per club and MLS policy, details of the deal have not been released. He will not be classified as a Designated Player. The Impact received first priority for Alessandro Nesta from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for allocation money.
Nesta played a total of 417 games in Serie A, 101 games in Champions League competition, 17 UEFA Cup/Europa matches and 17 Coppa Italia contests, all while wearing the uniforms of Lazio from 1993-2002, and AC Milan from 2003-2012.
He is considered one of the all-time best central defenders in soccer history. He was named to the UEFA Team of the Year on four occasions (2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007) and was named Serie A Defender of the Year another four times (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003).
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“I'm very happy to be here,” said Alessandro Nesta. “Despite some offers to continue my career in Europe, I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to play in MLS. Upon visiting my friend Marco (Di Vaio) to see him play his first game with Montreal, I met great people in this club. I really liked what I saw and I was convinced Montreal was where I wanted to be.”
"For a player who won the World Cup and played at the highest level for 20 years, he was extremely humble and it was easy to come to an agreement with him," said Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo. "He already feels a part of the team."
“It’s exciting not only for the team, but also for the club to have a player of his pedigree, a world champion in 2006 and one of the top defenders in the world,” said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis. “Alessandro will bring a lot of leadership qualities through his different experiences, and will be a great mentor to our young players. To have him around the team and on the field will help the club as a whole.”
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our club to add a defender of his talent,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “We are very anxious to get him into our lineup because he will make us better on every level.”
Before joining the Impact, he started 16 of 17 games played during the 2011-2012 season and scored one goal, while appearing in seven UEFA Champions League games; two in group phase and two in the quarterfinals against FC Barcelona.
He started his professional career in 1993 with Lazio of Rome, his hometown; following his develop with its youth academy. Captain of the team for three seasons, he scored one goal and added 22 assists in 193 games, between 1999 and 2002, helping the team win a Serie A championship in 2000 and a Coppa Italia in 1998 and 2000. He also played in the UEFA Cup final in 1998, against Inter.
Nesta was then transferred to AC Milan in July, 2002 for a total of 30.5 million €, playing in 224 games in Serie A and 78 matches in the UEFA Champions League. With AC Milan, Nesta won the UEFA Champions League and the SuperCup in 2003 and 2007. He also took home the FIFA Clubs’ World Cup in 2007, two first division championships in 2004 and 2011, one Coppa Italian in 2003 and two and two Italian SuperCups in 2004 and 2011.
At the international level, Nesta played 78 times with the Italian National Team as a central defender, winning the prestigious FIFA World Cup in 2006 against France. He also took part in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
Alessandro Nesta was named a knight in the Italian Order of Merit in 2000 and an Officer in the Italian Order of Merit in 2006.
The Italian defender will wear number 14.
The Impact will play a second consecutive game at Stade Saputo, against the Columbus Crew this Sunday, at 7:30pm (ET). Group packages, as well as 3 or 6 game partial plans are available for the 2012 season by calling 514-328-3668.
Weight: 175 lbs.
Birthdate: March 19, 1976, Roma, Italy
Place of residence: Milan, Italy
Former club: AC Milan (Italy)