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Butler: Di Vaio's future hangs over Impact's present

Noel Butler
9/14/2013 10:38:01 AM
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Just as the late season perfect storm takes shape for the Impact, Marco Di Vaio's possible departure at season's end casts a foreboding shadow down Stade Saputo way. 

It was back in July that Di Vaio disclosed to TSN.ca he would wait until the season had run its course before sitting down with his family to consider the option of continuing to play football in a city he, his wife and children were very comfortable living in.

Not long afterwards the current MLS player of the week was given permission to return to Italy for personal reasons.

Now we know, following his midweek disclosure, the comfortable Di Vaio family life has been shattered. Di Vaio is now living alone in Montreal, while his wife and two young children remain in Italy due to a family illness.

There appears to be no timeline for their return. The league's top scorer told media Wednesday that he wants to be with his family and if they are not able to re-join him in Montreal, he will not extend his career with the Impact.

In early January this year, Di Vaio returned to Montreal a few weeks ahead of training camp with one clear objective in mind.

He felt, after a disappointing debut season, he owed a debt of gratitude to Joey Saputo and Impact supporters. So, he promised himself that in return he would do something special for the upcoming season.

Now, with the club on the cusp of the playoffs Di Vaio has certainly kept his side of the bargain. With the immense promise there is much more to come.

Meanwhile, Brazilian-born Felipe, a player instrumental in so many of Di Vaio's goals this season and also the Impact's second leading scorer, shone a beacon of light in the direction of a woefully underperforming Canadian men's national team the day after they were humbled by Mauritania.
 
However, his midweek tweet was hardly an impulsive thing, with the Impact midfielder disclosing to TSN 690 the thought of playing for Canada has been on his mind for quite some time.

"I told my coach Mauro Biello last year I want to stay here in Montreal, I love playing on the Impact, I love this city so I want to stay here and play and if I have opportunity to play on the Canadian team – why not," explained Felipe.

Adding, "We'll see what happens, you never know what can happen but if I have the opportunity to stay here and play for the national team that would be nice."

With his star certainly on the rise Felipe surprisingly does not retain the services of an agent. Nor has he let the CSA know of his feelings towards perhaps one day trotting out in a jersey emblazoned with the maple leaf. 

"For now I didn't talk with nobody but we'll see what is going to happen and I hope I have opportunity to play for them," he said.

Back in July, Camilo also revealed his intentions towards the men's national team. To date Felipe has not spoken with his fellow Brazilian.

"I haven't had opportunity to speak with him about that. But I think like me he would like to play for the Canadian national team if he has an opportunity."

Felipe will be eligible to apply for permanent resident status next year and, if he is successful, a further wait would be required to comply with the FIFA international rule book.

Making Montreal seem more like home Felipe also revealed that unlike in his first season where he lived alone, his girlfriend has now joined up with him in la belle ville.

With a pair of midweek CONCACAF Champions League games mushroomed between two straight home league games, Saturday afternoon's home date with Columbus is the start of a four games in 10 days stretch for the Impact.

The team is currently on a season best four-game unbeaten streak in MLS play, matching their perfect start to the season. Against Columbus, Montreal is up against a club desperate for three points as the Crew look to put their spluttering playoff campaign back on track.

The last time Columbus was in town on April 13, a freak snowstorm led to the game being pushed back 24 hours. Di Vaio was on the score sheet that day in a game that ended with the spoils shared.

With Di Vaio's disclosures as a back drop and the expectation of yet another sold out stadium, you can be sure the Impact  faithful will do all they can to ensure the league's top marksman feels right at home.

For all the noise that comes out of the Pacific North West, there will be no greater moment across the MLS landscape than if Di Vaio bangs in his 18th Saturday afternoon.

His instinctive goal celebration - a kiss of his wedding band finger - would be a moment for the MLS MVP-in-waiting to bridge that immense void felt for those three people who have been ever present at Saputo Stadium - his wife and two young children.

Like Gianfronco Zola, who upon re-signing an additional year option with Chelsea back in 2002 told the supporters it shouldn't be him they should be celebrating but instead Mrs. Zola, before him.

If it wasn't for Mrs. Di Vaio's willingness to uproot her family from their comfortable life at home in summer 2012, the Impact supporters would never have had the chance to enjoy their 2013 MLS MVP.

Over to you Impact faithful.

Montreal Impact Vs Columbus Crew Saturday at 1:45pm Listen Live - CJAD.com

You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:
Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca
@TheSoccerNoel

Noel Butler

Noel Butler


Noel Butler is an analyst for TSN's soccer coverage and his blog can be read on TSN.ca. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/TheSoccerNoel and listen to his radio program oranges@halftime on TSN Radio 690 Montreal.

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