November 1, 2014 2:03 pm
Updated: November 1, 2014 8:00 pm

Impact parts ways with Ferrari without so much as a ‘grazie’

The Montreal Impact

Raphael Larocque-Cyr/Soccer Sans Frontiere

MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact said “grazie” and good-bye to their first designated player Marco Di Vaio last Saturday.

The 38-year-old Italian retired after just over two years with the club.

His departure was an emotional one because many believed Di Vaio’s unique soccer skills brought the Impact to a new level.

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READ MORE: Highlights from Impact striker Marco Di Vaio’s time in Montreal

But, less than a week after the Impact paid a heartwarming tribute to Di Vaio’s career, the team announced they would not be renewing contracts with Matteo Ferrari, Futty Danso, James Bissue and Zakaria Messoudi for the 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

The reason these players are being let go? Budgets, says Frank Klopas, the Impact’s coach and sporting director on Friday.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said. “But we have to focus on the future.”

Matteo Ferrari, who had been a central defender with the Impact since the team joined the MLS in 2012, says he feels differently.

At a press conference he hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal Saturday, Ferrari addressed journalists to give his side of the story and explain the reason why he wouldn’t be back next year.

At 34-years-old, Ferrari says it was important for him to know the direction the club was taking.

He says the team doesn’t have the tools necessary to compete at a higher level in the MLS.

He pointed to the Impact’s dismal 2014 season, where they came in dead last, to make his point.

“I asked to meet the club many time and they didn’t know what the season would be like next year,” said Ferrari.

Montreal Impact’s Matteo Ferrari, left, is challenged by Seattle Sounders’ Obafemi Martins for the ball during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Sunday, March 23, 2014.


On Friday, Klopas met with Ferrari to tell him that the team had decided to let him go.

“I didn’t check my watch, but it wasn’t longer than 10 minutes,” Ferrari said of the meeting.

He bitterly insists that after everything he’s done for the team, he deserved a better send-off.

Changing of the guards

The Impact is a team that has been known for its strong ties to Italy.

READ MORE: Impact president Joey Saputo seeking to buy Italian club Bologna FC

Part of that reason is Impact owner Joey Saputo‘s strong connections to soccer clubs in the European country.

Most recently, Saputo bought Bologna FC, a Serie B club based in Italy’s north-east region.

Now, for the first time since its induction into the MLS, the Impact finds itself with no Italians on its roster.

Alessandro Nesta retired last year, Marco Di Vaio this year and now, Matteo Ferrari has been left without a contract.

But, the Impact has welcomed eight local players from its academy since 2012.

Some are speculating this may be because the Impact has taken to signing homegrown players rather than looking overseas.

With these big changes comes uncertainty for the future and analysts admit the Impact still has a long way to go to come back from its disheartening 2014 season and make next year a success.

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