Ordinarily, no one would be too surprised about a 37-year-old striker talking retirement. Heck, most 37-year-old strikers (or midfielder … or defenders) who remain active are being steered towards it, sometimes aggressively so.
But something seemed out of place last month when Marco Di Vaio began talking about it, contemplating a departure even while his steely finishing of 2013 was driving the sophomore MLS side toward an unlikely playoff spot. Aside from the team accomplishments, the guy still has a great chance at Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot, now dead level with Chicago’s Mike Magee with 19 goals. Further, the veteran Italian finisher is this close to a 20-goal season – and remember, those are few and far between in Major League Soccer.
All of that, and Di Vaio is also holding a reasonable place in the league MVP sweepstakes; that thing remains up for grabs with two rounds remaining, so one big performance from Di Vaio, Magee, Robbie Keane or even a couple of late-comers could prove highly influential to the voters.
So good news arrived on Tuesday when the Impact exercised the option on Di Vaio, the club’s first Designated Player when he signed originally to play at Stade Saputo late in the spring of 2012.
Here is what Di Vaio said a month ago, beginning with “Maybe,” as reporters asked about possible retirement plans. “…because it hasn’t been easy for me,” he said. “I decided to come here with my family, and my family’s not in Montreal anymore. It changes things a lot. Of course, if my family were here with me right now, I’d keep going one more year.”
Although he had been rumored to return to Bologna at some point, this increases the chances that Di Vaio will cap a fine career – one that included stops at Parma, Juventus, Valencia, Monaco and Genoa – in Major League Soccer.