KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Will 2013 be the year Alessandro Nesta hangs them up?
Set to blow out 37 birthday candles next month, the native of Rome was never going to stay in Montreal forever despite the fact that he still very much oozes class on a soccer field. On Saturday, after his team’s 1-1 draw against D.C. United, Nesta acknowledged that he might call it a day after his first full MLS campaign.
“Maybe this is my last season, and I want to do very good,” Nesta told reporters. “I want to win with this club, with these guys. And I think we can.”
Highlights: Impact 1, DC United 1
Preseason suggests Nesta has reasons to be cautiously hopeful. The Impact have conceded only two goals from open play in four exhibition games – though the one penalty they gave away was because of a Nesta foul – and will now look to succeed the Vancouver Whitecaps as Disney Pro Soccer Classic champions next Saturday when they face the Columbus Crew in the final.
So far, Nesta’s understanding with central defense partner and Italian compatriot Matteo Ferrari makes it difficult for the opposition to play through them, and crucially, he looks not only fitter, but also sharper than last season.
Benefitting from an actual preseason, after all, can work wonders.
“When you get a little bit older, you need to work more,” Nesta admitted. “Last season, I was two months on the beach, I worked for a week and then I played. It’s not possible [to be at your best then]. I need to work hard every day. I feel good and this season, I think I’m going to do better than last year.”
Teammate Zarek Valentin pointed out on Wednesday how Nesta’s contributions go farther than his on-field exploits. The Italian is among a group of veterans who are “always giving us some pointers,” Valentin said. And as anyone who watches the Impact train regularly can attest, the World Cup winner very much clicks, including on a personal level, with the up-and-coming generation.
Does that set up perhaps a future in coaching for the former AC Milan star?
“Maybe … But first, I’ll give myself two years' rest in Miami,” Nesta responded. “But there are a lot of good guys, good players here, and I do love giving them some advice.”