MONTREAL — Marco Di Vaio has made up his mind.
After much speculation about whether the Italian forward would retire after a scintillating 2013 season, the Montreal Impact confirmed on Tuesday that their star striker would return for the 2014 after the club exercised its option on the player, who in turn agreed on a return to the club.
The 37-year-old Di Vaio, who was the lone Designated Player on the Montreal roster before the July arrival of midfielder Hernán Bernardello, has had an exceptional 2013 and has been key in many an Impact win. After scoring 19 goals in 30 games so far, he is currently tied with Mike Magee as the top scorer in MLS.
"I am very pleased to be back with the Impact in 2014," said Di Vaio in a club statement. "After discussions with my family, it was clear that I wanted to keep playing and I am happy to be in Montreal for another season."
Added Impact president Joey Saputo in the statement: "We are extremely pleased that Marco decided to stay with us. He is a player that has lived up to the expectations we had when we brought him in as our first ever Designated Player."
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Di Vaio’s future has been in doubt since he revealed last month that he could retire and get back to his wife and his two young daughters, who all returned to Italy a few months ago because of an illness to a relative. With the support of his teammates, including childhood friend Alessandro Nesta, Di Vaio has remained fully focused on the Impact’s chase for a first-ever playoff spot.
“Maybe [I’ll retire], because it hasn’t been easy for me,” Di Vaio told reporters on Sept. 11. “I decided to come here with my family, and my family's not in Montreal anymore. It changes things a lot. Of course, if my family were here with me right now, I’d keep going one more year."
Di Vaio had made the statement hours after the Corriere di Bologna speculated on the former Bologna captain returning to Italy this winter, which a report published on Tuesday by Bologna newspaper La Repubblica dismissed. La Repubblica is adamant, however that Di Vaio will at some point be back in Bologna, where he is still much revered, as a Rossoblù executive.