The 35-year-old Italian and former Bologna striker spoke for the first time to the media on Monday afternoon in a press conference in downtown Montreal.
MONTREAL – It’s been a long time coming.
After many games on TV and countless YouTube videos on the net, Montreal Impact fans and media finally got a chance to see Marco Di Vaio in person. On Monday afternoon, Di Vaio, who also spent a season in Monaco during his career, spoke to the media for the first time at the Impact’s downtown office in Italian and in rusty French.
“It wasn’t easy for me to leave Bologna because Bologna gave me the possibility of becoming a great player again,” said Di Vaio. “But after getting to know the [club] president and Nick [De Santis] in person, I was convinced of starting this new adventure and to do what I did at Bologna here in Montreal. I want to bring my experience to the team and I want to help this team grow.”
When Di Vaio arrived in Montreal with his family Sunday night, he was greeted at the Trudeau airport by around 200 ecstatic Impact fans, who had also taken the time to learn some of the chants that his former Bologna supporters would sing for him.
“I want to thank the fans that greeted me yesterday in such a great way,” said Di Vaio. “I wasn’t expecting it, and I haven’t done anything yet to deserve it, but having this demonstration of affection from the fans is something very important for me."
“There are great expectations for me and I want to do well, leave a mark and continue my career scoring goals. I’m here to score goals and I want to help the team grow, move up the standings and reach its objectives.”
Club president Joey Saputo and club sporting director Nick De Santis have been looking for a designated player since last fall, and Saputo explained to the media that finding a DP was a long process because they wanted to make doubly sure that they found the right guy for the team.
“It’s a great day to be an Impact supporter,” said Saputo. “We promised a designated player and today you get the chance to meet him. We always said that Montreal fans deserved a designated player and we’d like to thank them for their trust and their patience.
"We were looking for a player that has always played at the top level, [Di Vaio] has played 359 games in Serie A and has just completed his fourth season with Bologna. We wanted a player that could help us both on and off the field, and a player that understands the club and its desires. We worked hard to bring him here."
The attack has been a concern for the Impact, who have only been able to score an ordinary 15 goals in 13 games so far this season. With Di Vaio having averaged a goal every other game in one of the most defensive-minded leagues in the world, head coach Jesse Marsch didn’t hide his delight at the signing during the press conference and explained that he couldn’t wait to be able to call on the Roman.
“For our team, I think he’s the perfect fit,” said Marsch. “We need somebody in the attacking third that can really make sense of things and ultimately score goals. We’re all excited about Marco and he’s going to be a great addition to our team, there’s no question about that.”
The Impact already have two Italian players -- Bernardo Corradi and Matteo Ferrari -- in the team, but Di Vaio insisted that that didn't factor into his decison to come to Montreal. Rather, he was convinced by Saputo and the technical staff at the club that the city would be a great place for his family to live in, particularly his young kids who will now be able to learn two other languages.
"We'll be staying and living in Montreal, because the two little ones will be going to school," concluded Di Vaio. "We will only be going back to Italy for Christmas."
Di Vaio and his family will be going to Florida for a two-week vacation and will return to Montreal on June 15. He will be eligible to play on June 27, the day Toronto FC is in town to play the Impact at Saputo Stadium.