Official Montreal Impact Reporter

By Eve // @evejulia9

It seemed as though the writing was on the wall for the Montréal Impact. After an improvised farewell from fans in the season’s last match followed by Ignacio Piatti’s hasty departure from the 2019 postseason press conference, fans and media alike knew there was more to the story than the excuse offered by the captain upon his return to Montréal. In interviews, president Kevin Gilmore, technical director Olivier Renard, coach Thierry Henry and Piatti himself all referred to the player’s time with the team as “today” or “for now.”

On February 10th, after a long drawn-out saga — thanks in large part to the overactive Argentinian rumour mill — Piatti was transferred back to his beloved club, San Lorenzo. It’s the end of an era. Referred to as a magician, a maestro, and an artist, Piatti’s highlight reel speaks for itself in a manner befitting the personality of the player. Never a player who enjoyed the spotlight, Piatti’s feints and dribbles to leave opposing defenders in his dust were a trademark of his five seasons as an Impact player.

His understated presence in the media along with playing in what remains a largely overlooked market meant that Piatti was woefully underrated across the league – as many have stated since his departure was announced, had he played for nearly any other team, Piatti would have been a household name.

Instead, his time as an Impact player ends as quietly as it passed. Many will feel that a player of Piatti’s calibre was shortchanged as the team around him simply wasn’t competitive enough, and that the burden of carrying the attack should not have fallen on his shoulders as it did. It therefore comes as a relief that Piatti finally won a trophy with the Impact in 2019, a season marred by injury for the player.

Although the Canadian Championship opened the door the CONCACAF Champions’ League once again, a return to the international stage was not enough to keep Piatti in Montréal, as his family had all returned to Argentina.

From a personal perspective, I am forging into unknown territory with the Impact. If you know my story, you know I discovered the Bleu-Blanc-Noir in 2015 because of my mother’s fixation with Didier Drogba. I’ve never known an Impact without “Nacho.” Of course, it’s normal that players come and go — it’s part of the business of sport. But knowing the importance Piatti held in the team and in the hearts of fans, the void that is left on the eve of the 2020 season kickoff feels massive, and it’s hard to imagine a team in a constant state of transition ever filling it.

I leave you with my fondest memory of Piatti, when I crossed paths with him at the 2018 MLS All-Star game in Atlanta. I wished Piatti good luck in the match, and he replied that there was an important game against D.C. United the following Saturday and he was eager to return to Montréal to prepare. We then took a picture together, and true to his nature as anything but a celebrity, he asked me to take a picture of him and his friend for them. It was a very brief moment, but more than enough for me to fully appreciate the competitor as well as the person.

Featured image: @ImpactMontreal

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One thought on “Saying Goodbye to the Impact's Quiet Hero”
  1. My name is Gail and yes, my favorite player in the world is Didier Drogba. Who knew he would lead me to Impact and what has become a lifetime investment? Was I sad when Drogba left the Impact? Yes, but Piatti’s departure feels so much harder. Monsieur Henry has his work cut out for him to fill the void left by Piatti. I am so glad I had the pleasure of witnessing his final goal at Stade Saputo. Against our nemesis Toronto FC was icing on the cake. As I do with most former players or managers of Impact, I will continue to follow the career of our beloved Piatti in Argentina. Merci pour les souvenirs.

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