MONTREAL – On Saturday, when Montreal Impact players line up facing the flags for the national anthems at Stade Saputo, they may make out a tall, familiar figure near the press box – that of injured teammate Bernardo Corradi.
The Italian striker, who sustained a season-ending left ACL tear during training a mere 36 hours after the Impact's 4-1 win over the Seattle Sounders in June, was back in Montreal on Thursday morning for the team photo shoot. He will, of course, also be on hand for the weekend game against Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City (1 pm ET, TSN in Canada, MLS Live in the USA).
Corradi turned up in great shape and mood in front of the Montreal media. He made a point of thanking club president Joey Saputo and sporting director Nick De Santis for arranging the photo shoot around Corradi’s schedule.
“Sometimes in soccer, when you’re playing good, everyone’s hugging you and saying you’re the best, but then when you get injured, everyone forgets about you and no one calls,” Corradi told reporters. “But they never left me alone. They always supported me.”
The 36-year-old, scorer of four goals in 11 games before getting injured, has been in touch with fellow Italians Alessandro Nesta, Marco Di Vaio and Matteo Ferrari via e-mail and text message.
Corradi kept abreast of the team’s activities by visiting its website every day, and said he was helped in his recovery by the Impact’s good results. He credits Montreal’s veterans with instilling confidence in the squad’s numerous young players.
“If I was a young guy and I saw Alessandro Nesta or Marco Di Vaio training next to me, I would be like a sponge, absorbing every advice they would give to me,” Corradi said.
As indicated by his ability to fully extend his left knee, a critical part of the healing process, the Italian’s surgery was a great success. The first words the surgeon told him in the recovery room were a playful, “Yeah, maybe you can come back and play soccer,” and Corradi now expects to be running again in around 20 days.
As for his future in Montreal – or in soccer altogether – Corradi was slightly vaguer.
“When I will be fine and fit, I will decide if it’s good for me and for my family to come back and play soccer," he said, "or maybe I’ll decide to stop."