Ignacio Piatti has officially bid farewell to the Montreal Impact, with the club announcing Monday evening that the talismanic attacker had ended his contract with Montreal and signed for his old Argentine team, San Lorenzo.
Piatti's move back to his home country marks the departure of one of the best players to play in MLS during the 2010s. Though a vitally important player throughout his five-and-a-half seasons in Montreal, the Argentine's finest spell in the league came from 2016-2018, when he put up totals of 17, 17, and 16 goals across those three seasons to go with 25 assists in that time span.
“I would like to thank Nacho, personally and on behalf of our club, for his six years with the Montreal Impact,” said Impact owner and chairman Joey Saputo in a team statement. “His professionalism, class and love for the sport, this club and this city have marked his time in Montreal. The thrilling moments he allowed us to experience and share through his play on the field will remain fixed in this club’s history, as will his status as one of the greatest players to wear the Impact jersey. I wish Nacho all the best in his return to his homeland and look forward to welcoming him back as an alumnus once his playing days are over.”
Piatti was limited by injury to just 757 minutes across 11 regular-season MLS games in 2019, and though he was linked with a return back to San Lorenzo on more than a few occasions during his time in MLS, rumors of the move really started to heat up towards the end of the year.
“While we had decided, collectively and in discussions with Nacho last year, that he would remain in Montreal for the 2020 season, he indicated to us at the start of the training camp that given his personal situation, he wished to return to Argentina to continue his soccer career and be close to his family,” said Montreal Impact sporting director, Olivier Renard. “With this new outcome and out of respect for Nacho and his family, we worked diligently with his representatives and Argentine club San Lorenzo to find a solution.”
Piatti, now 35, arrived in Montreal midway through 2014, shortly after helping San Lorenzo win the 2014 Copa Libertadores. During his five and a half seasons in Quebec, he scored 66 goals and added 35 assists across 135 regular-season appearances, plus another five goals and three assists across eight postseason games. Piatti's brilliance was not just limited to MLS however, as he was a key figure in the club's run to the 2015 Concacaf Champions League final and helped the Impact win the 2019 Canadian Championship despite his injury struggles. In total, he earned two MLS Best XI selections, three MLS All-Star nods, and was named Impact MVP four times.
Watch: 2019 Ignacio Piatti Highlights
The departure of Piatti is also another indication of the fresh start that the Impact are undertaking this year. The team appointed French legend Thierry Henry as head coach following the conclusion of the 2019 season and will now face their first campaign since 2013 without one of the best players to don to the black and blue shirt.
There is still plenty of talent to be found in the Impact attack, though, with former Barcelona prodigy Bojan ready to step into the spotlight after his first full preseason with the club. Montreal also picked up a proven MLS attacker in Romell Quioto during the offseason, and are returning do-it-all midfielder Saphir Taider as well as a pair of promising young wingers, Lassi Lappaleinen and Orji Okwonkwo.