MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Tuesday that Italian central defender Matteo Ferrari has joined the team in Carson, California, where training camp is currently being held.
“We had an unanticipated meeting with Matteo while in Europe. He is not currently under contract with us, but he wants to play in MLS and wants to join the Impact. We are excited that he will be joining the club,” said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis. “We know the level of his game and what he can bring to the team. The details of a potential deal have to be finalized with the league, but we are confident that it can get done quickly.”
Ferrari, who is of Algerian descent, has spent the last two seasons with first division club Besiktas, joining the Turkish side in 2009. Prior to that, Ferrari played in more than 200 games and over 20,000 minutes in Italy’s Serie A, the country’s first division, most notably with Inter Milan, Parma, AS Roma and Genoa. During his time there, he won two Italian Cups in 2002 and 2007 and one Italian Super Cup in 2007.
In addition, he’s played 22 Champions League games, 19 as a starter, to go along with 21 UEFA Cup appearances.
Ferrari also spent time with English Premier side Everton, in 2005-2006, playing eight games on loan.
The 32 year old played in 11 games for the Italian National team from 2000 to 2004, and won a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He has also been capped 33 times with Italian national youth teams.
“He will not be a designated payer,” explained Impact president Joey Saputo. “Matteo was a pleasant surprise for us while we were in Europe and we are very proud to know that our club is known overseas and there are many players that want to join MLS. We are still working on finding a Designated Player and we are putting in a lot of effort. We have always done our best to be professional and to get the best players available. We will continue to work on that, but we will not be making any announcements before the month of May because the summer transfer window only opens on July 1. Our fans can count on us and they will not be disappointed.”
The Impact will kick off its inaugural season in the North American first division in less than a month, on Saturday, March 10, against Canadian rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC, at 6pm (ET), at BC Place in Vancouver. The team will then host its season opener at home the following Saturday, at Olympic Stadium, on March 17, against the Chicago Fire, at 2pm (ET).
Season tickets for 2012 are still available and can be purchased via the team’s website at impactmontreal.com or by calling 514-328-3668. Individual tickets are available for the Olympic Stadium games via the Admission network.