Moments of 2012 - World Cup winner joins the Impact

In a matter of days, after a visit to see his close friend Marco Di Vaio make his debut with the Impact in MLS at Stade Saputo midseason, 2006 World Cup champion Alessandro Nesta signed a deal to join the club, on July 5.

Considered one of the all-time best central defenders in soccer history, the Champions League winner made his debut in a friendly against Olympique Lyonnais and went on to play eight games in 2012, helping the team during a stretch that pushed the Impact back into a playoff spot.

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.

Along with the likes of Thierry Henry and David Beckham, Nesta is one of the most recognized faces in football in the entire world, bringing instant notoriety to the Impact and the entire league.

"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 brings 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."

WATCH: Nesta's first press conference