Add Alessandro Nesta to the growing list of prominent Europe-based players being linked with Major League Soccer.
On Thursday, Nesta fueled the MLS speculation during a press conference in which he announced he will leave Italian giants AC Milan at the end of the current season.
From the Associated Press (via The Washington Post):
Alessandro Nesta says he will leave AC Milan at the end of the season and consider a move to Major League Soccer.
Nesta has spent 10 years at Milan but, at age 36, says “the high pace of the Italian league, the Champions League and the Italian Cup means that I can’t play all the time. And I’m not one to sit and wait on the bench.”
Nesta insists he has not signed with any club but adds that he would “very happily” join the MLS.
Nesta helped Milan to two Serie A titles and two Champions League trophies. The defender also won the World Cup with Italy in 2006.
He spent nine seasons with Lazio and also won the league with the Rome club.
Nesta's comments prompted an instant backlash from MLS figures on Twitter.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman, a former New England Revolution striker, sent out what amounted to a "thanks but no thanks" tweet.
Former Houston Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish, now the manager of USL Premier Development League club Austin Aztex, claimed MLS is more demanding than Serie A.
MLS is probably the most physically demanding league in the world. Not so much the games but the weather conditions and travel is brutal.— Paul Dalglish (@pauldalglish) May 10, 2012
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl reported that Nesta does not have many options.
1 good source tells me despite what Nesta says, he has serious interest from just 1 place right now: MLS/New York.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) May 10, 2012
So, readers, what do you think? Is it a good fit?
Alessandro Nesta to MLS?
Nesta, a World Cup winner with 78 caps for Italy, would certainly raise the international profile of MLS. And New York and New Jersey both have substantial Italian-American populations that would likely be thrilled to see a player like Nesta before he retires.
But has he already alienated too many important people?
Discuss in the comments.