Impact ink Di Vaio as designated player
Published Thursday, May 24, 2012 5:15PM EDT
MONTREAL - All roads lead to Rome for the Impact when it comes to searching for scoring punch, as the team announced Thursday that the Italian Marco Di Vaio, 35, has become its first-ever designated player.
Due to administrative reasons, the veteran attacker will only make his debut with the team on June 27 versus Toronto.
Di Vaio's long career has seen him kick around with eight Italian teams, notching 142 markers in 342 Serie A games, winning a championship with Juventus in 2003.
Di Vaio has played for Bologna for the last four years and led his squad last season with 10 goals. He has played for the Italian national team 14 times.
"We've always said that we needed to take our time and do our due diligence in bringing a player that filled all of the aspects we were looking for. Not only a good player on the field but the responsibilities that come with a designated player," said Impact Sporting Director Nick de Santis who praised Di Vaio for his "warrior mentality and will to fight every day."
Soccer analyst Patrick Leduc said that Montreal is in for a treat when they get their peepers on the stylish Roman.
"Di Vaio he's a lot of character. He tends to get behind the defenders, finds a way to score. So he's an exciting player to watch and I think it's a great move by the Montreal Impact," said Leduc.
Di Vaio is expected to provide firepower alongside countryman and former teammate and veteran Bernardo Corradi, 36, who now leads the Impact with four goals in 10 games.
Leduc echoed what fellow soccer analyst Lloyd Barker has also noted, the team's recent 2-1 loss to the Red Bulls exposed some weakness up front with players unable to set up Bernardo Corradi.
"We recognize that there are times that the partnership up front between Corradi and other players doesn't seem to be working as well as it should," said Leduc, "So, the addition of Di Vaio might help the attack in Montreal."
But de Santis expressed some dissent to that view, telling CTV Montreal that, "to say that Corradi doesn't have the players around him, I don't agree to that. Of course Di Vaio will help him and the team in general."
Each MLS team is allowed to sign one designated player, or trade for one, with no team being allowed to have more than two.
The designated player, usually the team's flashiest and highest-profile player, can be paid any sum and the salary only charged $400,000 on the team's salary cap.
The designated player clause came into being in 2007 to allow the L.A. Galaxy to sign MLS marquee star David Beckham.