MONTREAL – Why is Marco Donadel in Montreal?
On Monday, a short story appeared on the Montreal Impact website: Donadel is visiting his friend Marco Di Vaio, and asked if he can train with the team.
Reports in Italy then suggested that the 31-year-old midfielder would be signing with Montreal. One quoted him directly as saying that “Canada was a lifestyle choice.” Donadel got acquainted with the area in May 2010: then a Fiorentina player, he played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Montreal and nearly scored on a set play. Current Impact technical director Matt Jordan made a spectacular save.
On Wednesday, Donadel indeed trained with Montreal. He took part in early fitness drills before climbing up the Stade Saputo stairs to have a chat with Montreal’s director of international business development, Nick De Santis. But, Donadel insisted, he’s only in Montreal to train.
“In Italy, when something comes out, they make it bigger than what it really is,” Donadel told reporters. “It’d be nice to get an experience in MLS. I feel I’m at the top of my game. I don’t want to come here at the end of my career; I’d like to come here now. I feel I’d be able to do something here.
Donadel had spoken to De Santis in Florence two weeks ago. De Santis, along with club president Joey Saputo, were on a tour of Italy that also took them to Turin and Bologna.
“I really am here only for 10 days of training,” Donadel said. “In the future, I don't know. The new [season] starts in February or March. It’s six months. In Italy, there’s another league. I think I’ll return to Italy and wait. I don’t know if this experience can bring something. I don’t know.”
Head coach Frank Klopas spoke highly of Donadel’s experience, distribution quality and tactical intelligence. He wouldn’t say, however, if Donadel could be a good fit next season – Donadel, like new Columbus Crew forward Kei Kamara, signed on Tuesday, wouldn’t be eligible to play until 2015.
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“He’s here visiting Marco [Di Vaio],” Klopas said. “He asked if he can train. I said ‘Of course, why not?’ He wants to stay fit. He’s out of a contract. What that means, I don’t know. … I just know that he’s here on vacation. He’s asked to train with the team, which I think is a good thing. It's a positive. It seems that it’s a guy that wants to make sure that he stays fit, whatever his next oppportunity or move will be.”
Donadel spent last season on loan from Napoli at mid-table Hellas Verona, where he made 24 appearances in all competitions – lower-body injuries had restricted him to only four games in Serie A, two in the Cup and eight in the Europa League in his first two seasons with his parent club. He cancelled his contract with Napoli in early September.