MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta is done playing soccer. But don’t you cry; even he’s not shedding a tear.
The legendary Italian defender appeared serene on Wednesday when he met the media and commented on the writing that had been on the wall for some time. The Montreal Impact’s loss in Houston in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs meant that Nesta had to face the fact that limping off the field in the late stages of the team’s 2-1 win against Philadelphia on Oct. 19 would be the final act of his playing career.
“I’m very happy because my body’s tired, and I think it’s time to finish after 20 years at the highest level,” Nesta said. “I was lucky. I won a lot of trophies, and it's the perfect time to say ‘stop’ and start a new life with my family – another job, I don’t know.”
Born in 1976, Nesta joined the youth academy of his club of heart, Lazio, in 1985. He made his first-team debut during the 1993-94 Serie A season and later captained Lazio before a 30-million euro move to AC Milan, where he twice won the UEFA Champions League.
He also triumphed with Italy at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, though an injury prevented him from playing in the knockout round.
After such a storied career, which also included numerous league and cup titles at the club level, Nesta will allow himself a bit of rest in Florida, where he intends to live for now. As he’s always said, Nesta remains open to an eventual coaching gig. But not in the immediate future, dispelling rumors that he would take over the head coaching duties at Montreal.
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“I never spoke with the club to be the new coach. I didn’t ask the club to be the next coach,” Nesta said. “Those rumors are nothing. Nothing. There’s a coach, a second coach and so on. Now, I’ll go on vacation. I don’t know for how many months. I’ll go to Miami, to live there, and that’s it. Finished. Finished for maybe one year, to stay at home, study and see what I can learn.
"After, maybe I’ll try to coach. I don’t know where, but I’ll try for sure.”