Toronto FC confirm interest in former Milan defender Nesta

Alessandro Nesta

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TORONTO – Toronto FC have an interest in former Italian national team defender Alessandro Nesta, head coach Paul Mariner confirmed on Friday.

“We have a lot of people cross our desks,” Mariner told reporters after training at Downsview Park. “He’s on our list of targets, let’s put it that way.”

The 36-year-old center back has spent his career at Lazio and AC Milan. He left Milan in May after 10 years at the Serie A powerhouse, saying one of his options was to play in MLS.

Mariner said he has not talked personally to Nesta, who was reportedly at Montreal's Saputo Stadium on Wednesday, where TFC defeated the Impact 3-0. Montreal’s new Designated Player, Marco Di Vaio, also a former Italian international, made his debut.

Mariner suggested that Toronto would be an attractive place for Nesta to play.

“This club’s a massive club,” he said. “I’d put it up there with Los Angeles and New York. This is a really big club and this is a fantastic city in which to live and work. There’s no doubt he’s a fantastic player. But we’ll have to see what happens.”

Mariner said that Toronto (2-10-2) need a leader in their young defensive corps.

“We need a boss back there,” he said. “We need somebody that can control that backline.”

Toronto have allowed 28 goals in 14 games this season. Only the Impact, with 29 goals, against have yielded more.

TFC are 1-1-2 under Mariner and play the New York Red Bulls on Saturday at BMO Field (7 pm ET, Galavision).