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The experienced Italian has joined the struggling first-year MLS squad.

The Montreal Impact have announced the signing of veteran Italian defender Alessandro Nesta on a free transfer. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"I'm very happy to be here," said Alessandro Nesta. "Despite some offers to continue my career in Europe, I was looking for a new challenge and wanted to play in MLS. Upon visiting my friend Marco (Di Vaio) to see him play his first game with Montreal, I met great people in this club. I really liked what I saw and I was convinced Montreal was where I wanted to be."

Nesta, 36, joins the Impact after 417 matches in Serie A, 101 in the Champions League and 17 in the Europa League with both AC Milan and Lazio. He's also been selected for UEFA's Team of the Year on four different occasions (2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007).

"It's exciting not only for the team, but also for the club to have a player of his pedigree, a world champion in 2006 and one of the top defenders in the world," said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis. "Alessandro will bring a lot of leadership qualities through his different experiences, and will be a great mentor to our young players. To have him around the team and on the field will help the club as a whole."

The former AC Milan defender also has an impressive 78 caps for the Italian national team and won the 2006 World Cup with the team.

"It's an incredible opportunity for our club to add a defender of his talent," said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. "We are very anxious to get him into our lineup because he will make us better on every level."

The Impact traded allocation money to the New York Red Bulls in exchange for first priority in the MLS allocation order. Nesta's contract with Montreal won't take up a designated player slot.

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