MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta was introduced to the Montreal media at Stade Saputo on Friday, and he didn’t waste any time insisting that he meant business by moving his North American quarters from Miami to Montreal.
The Impact’s newest signing, who will not be a Designated Player during the course of his 18-month deal, refused to let past accomplishments speak for themselves. Rather, he said he arrives in Montreal with a blank slate.
“Even at 36, my reputation is defined not by what I've done,” Nesta told reporters, “but by what I'll keep on doing.”
Throughout his introduction, Nesta cleared any lingering doubts that might have surrounded his arrival in the Quebec metropolis.
Some saw the signing as an attempt by the Impact to irritate rivals Toronto FC, who had shown interest in the Italian, but Nesta explained that Montreal were the first MLS club to make him feel truly wanted. Club officials made the trip to Florida last weekend for the final round of negotiations.
This was a feeling that the New York Red Bulls, despite holding first priority on the player before trading it to the Impact for allocation money, apparently could not impart on Nesta.
“There were negotiations with New York, but in the end, I felt like they didn’t want me much,” the two-time UEFA Champions League winner explained. “There was a certain degree of intent on their part, but as a player, you want to know you’re important to a club. That’s how the Montreal Impact made me feel.”
Montreal president and owner Joey Saputo, who describes himself as an Impact fan first and foremost, is well aware of the message signing such a player sends across the world of soccer. Nesta in an Impact jersey, Saputo feels, is a testament to the work the organization has done since its inaugural season in 1993.
“One of the reasons why we can to talk to Alessandro, or Marco Di Vaio or anyone else before, is that they knew Montreal because of what we’ve done in the past,” Saputo said.
The new Impact No. 14 admitted that his friendship with Di Vaio, who admitted to relishing the prospect of playing with Nesta again 18 years after they were both members of Rome club Lazio, played a part in his decision.
But more than anything, Nesta feels that this is an opportunity to put his efforts behind a club he believes in with a vision he can relate to.
“I wanted to finish my career with a club that shares my own vision of things,” he said.