Marco di Vaio retirement can spark new dawn for Montreal Impact

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"After a 20-year career, I am pleased to announce that I will be retiring in Montreal as a member of the Impact."

While these were the words of Marco di Vaio on Friday, there's a chance that a portion of the Montreal Impact's support may share his pleasure in a slightly less complimentary way.

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Declining form

The Italian may boast the Quebecois club's all-time goals record with 31 Major League Soccer conversions, but just six notches this season reflect his waning star and the team's declining fortunes.

Matching last year's 20-goal haul was always likely to be a tough ask, but Di Vaio's performances have fallen way below par at times this term, making his retirement anything but a surprise. Though Thierry Henry looks set to bow out with his impeccably high standards in tact, the former Bologna ace has not managed the same.

When the Impact have been on their game this campaign, the 38-year-old has often been central, and a front trio of he, Jack McInerney and Ignacio Piatti should theoretically strike fear into opposition defences, but there is less consistency now from Di Vaio and his teammates have suffered as a result.

Liverpool are proving in the Premier League that the absence of a key man - be it Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge - can have an unpleasant bite, and while Montreal's talisman has been present in body, his talents have started to diminish.

It can be argued that the loss of Alessandro Nesta - one of the finest defenders to grace the sport in recent times - has been instrumental in their downfall (11th to 18th), but Di Vaio's wage require more significant justification than the second worst goal tally in the MLS.

Franchise problem

That is the main problem here.

The Italian has been a fantastic player for the Impact, and all athletes decline at some stage, but as one of two designated players in a franchise that is struggling horribly, this drop can't be afforded.

It could also be suggested that Montreal might have expected more than Di Vaio delivered. There are comparisons to made with the New York Cosmos' signing of fellow Italian Giorgio Chinaglia, who was likewise slightly average in his home country, but demanded big money in the United States.

However, he then rattled in goal after goal in an easier division - something Di Vaio hasn't quite managed.

Rather than a gloomy reflection, this announcement does therefore bring positive news. The double recruitment of Nesta and Di Vaio hints at an abundance of funds that should now become available.

This has been a disappointing year at Saputo Stadium, and now their chief frontman is heading off into the sunset, but this might just be the change that the club needs.

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