The Montreal Impact have completed the signing of World Cup-winning defender and Serie A veteran Alessandro Nesta, the club announced Thursday evening.
Though the length and terms of Nesta's contract were not disclosed per league and club policy, Impact sporting director Nick De Santis confirmed earlier Thursday that the club and player had verbally agreed to an 18-month deal. The 36-year-old will officially be added to the roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and will not count as a Designated Player.
The Impact acquired first priority on Nesta from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for allocation money.
"I'm very happy to be here," Nesta said in a statement. "Despite some offers to continue my career in Europe, I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to play in MLS. Upon visiting my friend Marco [Di Vaio] to see him play his first game with Montreal, I met great people in this club. I really liked what I saw and I was convinced Montreal was where I wanted to be."
The highly decorated defender comes to MLS after spending his entire career in his native Italy, first with Lazio then with AC Milan. Along the way, he has collected nearly every trophy at the club level, having three Serie A titles, three Coppa Italia wins, two UEFA Champions League titles, a Cup Winners' Cup title and a FIFA Club World Cup win to his name. Individually, Nesta has collected four Serie A Defender of the Year and four UEFA Team of the Year awards.
On the international level, he was part of Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning side and was named to the team of the tournament as Italy finished runners-up in Euro 2000.
"For a player who won the World Cup and played at the highest level for 20 years, he was extremely humble and it was easy to come to an agreement with him," said Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo. "He already feels a part of the team."
Both De Santis and Impact head coach Jesse Marsch echoed the president's enthusiasm over Nesta's addition.
"It's exciting not only for the team, but also for the club to have a player of his pedigree, a world champion in 2006 and one of the top defenders in the world," said De Santis. "Alessandro will bring a lot of leadership qualities through his different experiences, and will be a great mentor to our young players. To have him around the team and on the field will help the club as a whole."
"It's an incredible opportunity for our club to add a defender of his talent," Marsch added. "We are very anxious to get him into our lineup because he will make us better on every level."