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Nesta joins elite group of former World Cup champs
by Paul Kennedy, July 6th, 2012 12:28AM

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TAGS:  italy, mls, montreal impact

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[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Alessandro Nesta, who played on Italy's 2006 World Cup team, has signed with the Montreal Impact. The 36-year-old Nesta is the sixth former world champion to join an MLS team, though none has played on a team that has advanced past the conference semifinals.

Nesta, a four-time Serie A Defender of the Year, played a total of 417 games in Serie A with Lazio and AC Milan.

"I'm very happy to be here," said Nesta in a statement. "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."

Nesta is the third Italian to join the Impact after forwards Bernardo Corradi, 36, and Di Vaio, 35.

Three of the former MLS champions -- Brazilians Branco and Denilson and German Lothar Matthaeus -- lasted no more than a season in MLS. Frenchmen Youri Djorkaeff (10 goals in two seasons) and Thierry Henry (25 goals in the equivalent of two seasons) have had better success with the Red Bulls, though the club has gone winless in four two-game playoff series.

PLAYER (MLS CLUB, YEARS) WORLD CUP (YEAR)
Branco (MetroStars, 1997) Brazil (1994)
Lothar Matthaeus (MetroStars, 2000) Germany (1990)
Youri Djorkaeff (New York, 2005-06) France (1998)
Denilson (FC Dallas, 2007) Brazil (2002)
Thierry Henry
(New York, 2010-12) France (1998)
Alessandro Nesta (Montreal, 2012) Italy (2006)



3 comments
  1. John Burns
    commented on: July 6, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.
    The only puzzling thing is that Montreal has yet to sign Pele . He was pretty good in his day and would probably fit in well with their roster. Then again, he might not fit the bill as an Italian.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 6, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
    The biggest problem in signing foreign players like Di Vaio and Nesta is how well the squad fits in with them. These are proven players who with proper support can execute; that is the question, where is the 'proper support' coming from.
  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: July 7, 2012 at 9:39 a.m.
    I agree with John Burns. This is a disappointing signing for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being that Nesta cannot stay healthy. Why not take that money and further invest it in the Montreal youth academy? Or go to South or Central America and try to lure away talent?

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