MONTREAL – Italian striker and Designated Player with the Montreal Impact, Marco Di Vaio, announced on Friday that he will be retiring from professional soccer at the end of the current MLS season, following a brilliant 22-year career in Europe and North America.
Di Vaio’s final two home games at Stade Saputo will be on October 11 at 4pm against the New England Revolution and on October 25 at 4pm versus D.C. United at Stade Saputo. Excellent tickets for both games remain via Ticketmaster or through the Stade Saputo ticket office on game day.
“Everything we asked of Marco has been delivered,” said Impact president Joey Saputo. “He accepted all the responsibilities that came with being a Designated Player. He was the first for this club and was the right choice. His quality and experience helped the team progress on the field, but he also helped the club with his wealth of knowledge off of it. He gained respect around the league and from its players, and it’s very well deserved. We thank him for everything he’s done for the club and the city.”
“After a 20-year career, I am pleased to announce that I will be retiring in Montreal as a member of the Impact,” declared Marco Di Vaio. “I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished over two decades as a pro. It was a dream of mine to play at the highest level and I will look to make the best of my final month as a player.”
Il bomber became the club’s first ever Designated Player on May 24, 2012, joining the bleu-blanc-noir as one of the most storied 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 Bologna.
In three seasons with the Impact, Di Vaio scored 31 goals – seven game winners – and added nine assists in 72 regular season games played for a total of 5,636 minutes, including 62 starts. He ends his career as the club’s all-time leading goal scorer in MLS, as well as the club leader in game winning goals, shots and shots on goal.
In 2013, he was a finalist for the MLS Most Valuable Player Award, named to the MLS Best XI and awarded the Giuseppe Saputo Trophy given to the Impact’s Most Valuable Player, after leading the team and finishing third in the league in scoring with 20 goals in 33 games played, becoming just the 11th player in league history to reach the 20-goal plateau in a single season. He led the team to its first ever playoff appearance in MLS and was voted a starter for the MLS All-Star Game against AS Roma.
At the continental level, Di Vaio helped the Impact win two consecutive Canadian Championships, scoring two goals and adding two assists in five total games played – four starts. In six CONCACAF Champions League games, he scored four goals and one assist, leading IMFC to just its second ever appearance in the quarter-finals of the tournament, set for February and March of 2015.
A stellar career in Italy
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 FC Porto in the UEFA SuperCup in 2004.
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 played five Coppa Italia matches.
He also spent some time with AS Monaco, in France’s Ligue 1, and with Genoa, in the first and second divisions 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.